'Burning smell' in eastern part of Singapore caused by fire in Johor landfill: NEA

FILE PHOTO: Reuters/Edgar Su

UPDATE: The National Environment Agency (NEA) has pinpointed the source of a burning smell in eastern Singapore to a fire at a landfill in Bandar Tenggara in south-eastern Johor. It said, “The fire has been burning since 5 February 2019, and the Malaysian authorities have been working around the clock to stop the burning.”

Several parts of eastern Singapore such as Tampines, Bedok and Pasir Ris experienced a strong burning smell on Friday (8 February) morning.

Some pedestrians were spotted wearing face masks amid hazy surroundings around the Tampines area.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said in a media statement that it received feedback of a smoky smell in the eastern part of Singapore this morning.

It added, “Our investigations thus far have not detected any local sources of burning or factory upsets that could have contributed to the smell. No sources of transboundary haze were detected in the region. Winds over Singapore have been blowing from the north-east since early this morning.”

PM2.5 readings in elevated range in the morning

According to the NEA, the one-hour PM2.5 readings in the East region of Singapore from 4am to 5am on Friday were in the “elevated” range, from 70 to 73 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3). PM2.5 is the dominant pollutant during haze episodes.

This dropped to the “normal” range from 6am to 7am, with readings ranging from 19 to 26µg/m3. From 8am to 11am, the readings were back in the elevated range, from 46 to 62µg/m3. The readings in other regions of Singapore were in the normal range throughout this time.

The 1-hr PM2.5 reading in eastern Singapore since 11am has ranged from 8 to 18µg/m3, in the normal range.

As at 5pm on Friday, the 24-hr PSI was 65, in the moderate range.

The NEA said, “We are closely monitoring the air quality, and will provide updates of any further findings or significant change to the air quality situation.”

The Singapore Civil Defence Force also said it had not received any reports of major fire incidents in the eastern part of Singapore in the morning.

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