Not for love of money, but of Humanity. "Greater is he who works for the good of all, then he who works for the good of himself only" ~ Matthew 25:40: "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"- (NIV). I live in Singapore where the Emperor must not be disturbed.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Steps taken to tackle air pollutants: NEA

Jul 5, 2010
Steps taken to tackle air pollutants: NEA
WE REFER to Mr Ng Ya Ken's letter ('Are we prepared?'; June 21) and the articles by Ms Victoria Vaughan ('Haze 'is bad for your heart''; June 14) and Dr Andy Ho ('Clear the air on pollutant levels'; June 19).
Fine particulate matter or PM 2.5 is an air pollutant that poses a concern to public health. Current research on it does not identify any threshold levels where adverse health effects start to occur.
Nevertheless, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set an annual average standard of 15 micrograms per cubic m whereas the European Union's (EU) standard is 25 micrograms per cubic m. Under the Singapore Green Plan 2012, the National Environment Agency (NEA) has set a target to reduce ambient PM2.5 levels to within an annual average of 15 micrograms per cubic m by 2014. We intend to reduce it further to 12 micrograms per cubic m by 2030 under the Sustainable Development Blueprint.
The NEA has been monitoring PM2.5 levels since December 1997. The annual average ambient PM2.5 levels comply with the EU's standard but not the EPA's. However, it should be noted that 18 out of the 50 US states are unable to comply with the EPA's standard.
As a significant portion of PM2.5 emissions here comes from diesel vehicles, measures such as the implementation of Euro IV standards for new diesel vehicles (since Oct 1, 2006) and the adoption of the chassis dynamometer smoke test during the mandatory periodic inspection of diesel vehicles (since Jan 1, 2007) have helped to reduce ambient PM2.5 levels from 21 micrograms per cubic m in 2005 to 19 micrograms per cubic m last year. The introduction of ultra low sulphur diesel in December 2005 and the use of natural gas by industries and vehicles have also helped.
To deal with smoke haze from fires in the region, which contributes to PM2.5, Singapore has been actively engaging neighbouring countries, including Indonesia, to prevent the spread of forest fires.
An inter-ministry Haze Task Force was formed in 1994 to coordinate the actions of various agencies to put in place measures to protect the public during a smoke haze episode. Under this plan, the NEA provides hourly air quality updates and, when necessary, health advisories.
The NEA is aware of the findings of recent health studies on the short-term impact of air pollutants, including PM2.5, and also the recent revisions of ambient air quality standards by the EPA. We will take these into account in our efforts to review air quality standards as well as the Pollutant Standards index to ensure they remain relevant.
Tan Quee Hong
Pollution Control Department
National Environment Agency

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