Singapore To Adopt Higher Air Quality Targets [Press Releases]

August 23, 2012 by  
Filed under News

Singapore, 23 August 2012 – The National Environment Agency (NEA) will be implementing a suite of measures to achieve higher national air quality standards by 2020.

Following the acceptance of the recommendations by the Advisory Committee on Ambient Air Quality (see Annex I for details), the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) will be adopting the World Health Organisation (WHO) Air Quality Guidelines (AQG) for particulate matter 10 (PM10), Nitrogen Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide and Ozone, and the WHO AQG’s Interim Targets for PM2.5 and Sulphur Dioxide, as Singapore’s air quality targets for 2020. These targets will enable Singapore to achieve a high standard of public health and economic competitiveness.

As announced at this year’s Budget Debate, NEA will also increase the reporting frequency of the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) which measures five key pollutants namely particulate matter PM10, Ozone, Nitrogen Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide and Sulphur Dioxide in the ambient air from once a day to three times daily. The daily reports will include PM2.5 as well.

Air Quality Roadmap

Singapore today enjoys an air quality better than many cities in Asia and comparable with US and European cities. We have also been faring well with the PSI in the ‘Good’ range 96% of the time in 2011.

Like many other major cities, air emissions from the industries and motor vehicles are the two key sources of air pollution domestically. Transboundary smoke haze from the land and forest fires in the region is also a problem which affects Singapore’s air quality intermittently during the South West Monsoon period from August to October.

Integrated urban and industrial planning, as well as development control have enabled the government to put in place preventive air pollution control measures during the planning stage. In addition, legislation, strict enforcement programme and air quality monitoring have helped to ensure that air quality remains good despite our dense urban development and large industrial base.

To work towards attaining even higher air quality targets by 2020, NEA has put together a roadmap with a set of abatement measures to achieve sustainable growth and development while maintaining public health and economic competitiveness (see Annex II for Singapore’s air quality targets for 2020).

Some of the key measures are as follows:

  • Emission standards for off-road diesel engines based on US Tier 2 / Japan Tier I / EU Stage II by 1 July 2012;
  • Euro V emission standards for new diesel vehicles by 1 January 2014;
  • Euro IV emission standards for new petrol vehicles by 1 April 2014;
  • Mandatory supply of near sulphur-free diesel with less than 0.001% sulphur by July 2013;
  • Motor vehicles to use petrol with sulphur content less than 0.005% by 1 October 2013;
  • Reduction of SO2 emissions from oil refineries and power stations through use of natural gas and lower sulphur fuels. Refineries will also improve their processes to reduce emissions by 2020.

The above measures are already in the pipeline for implementation while other measures are being studied in consultation with the relevant industries. NEA will share the details when these other measures are firmed up (see Annex III for a summary of the abatement measures).

The Sustainable Singapore Blueprint (SSB) was launched in 2009 with the target to achieve an annual mean of 15µg/m3 of SO2 and 12µg/m3 of PM2.5 by 2020. The new air quality targets which are pegged to WHO AQGs will be aligned with these SSB targets. The final WHO AQGs for PM2.5 and SO2 will be Singapore’s long-term targets.

Enhanced Air Quality Reporting

NEA also recognises the need to update the public more frequently on air quality to help them better plan their activities for the day. Starting 24 August 2012, the PSI will be reported on the NEA website at three times a day at 8 am, 12 noon and 4 pm. In addition, NEA will be making PM2.5 levels available together with the PSI readings at these timings. The PSI is currently reported once a day at 4 pm.

The PSI readings as well as PM2.5 levels will be reported according to the five regions of Singapore – North, South, East, West and Central (see details in Annex IV).

Health advisories will also be issued by region so that the public can be better prepared. During periods of transboundary haze, NEA will continue to provide hourly updates on air quality.

Source: NEA

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