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Singapore Budget 2014: Air quality index to include smaller, toxic PM2.5 particles

Published on Mar 11, 2014 12:03 PM

Singapore's Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) will be revised from May 1 to include very small, toxic particles called PM2.5. This means the PSI will be based on these particles if they make up the most pollution in the air.

The National Environment Agency will also start giving hourly, more current updates of PM2.5 levels that are averaged from the previous hour. Its hourly PM2.5 updates now are averaged from the past 24 hours, which means the figures may not accurately reflect the air quality at any given time.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan, announcing the changes in his ministry's budget debate, said the merging of PM2.5 into the PSI is to "simplify the system". "This revised single index will reflect whichever of the six pollutant parameters is the worst."

PM2.5 is expected to be the key pollutant that sets the index almost all of the time, he said.

The hazy skyline as pictured from Bishan Street 11 at around 2pm on March 8, 2014. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
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