Companies here to meet tougher standards from July to improve air quality

SINGAPORE - Companies in Singapore will have to meet tougher emissions standards for a wide range of pollutants from July, to help improve the country's air quality.

New industrial plants will have to meet more stringent guidelines for the amount of mercury, cadmium, ammonia, lead, carbon monoxide and particulate matter in their emissions from this July. Existing plants will have until July 2018 to comply with some of the guidelines, and until July 2023 for the others.

The National Environment Agency (NEA), announcing the new rules on Friday, said: "The introduction of the more stringent standards will serve to improve our air quality as we strive towards achieving our air quality goals for 2020 and beyond."

The agency added that it had been in consultation with the affected firms since early last year.

"The grace period will give them time to adjust their plans and processes, such as upgrading their equipment, so they can meet the standards and still achieve their business outcomes," it said.

The NEA also introduced daily limits for sulphur dioxide emissions from combustion sources. It noted that industrial activity accounts for 99 per cent of locally-generated sulphur dioxide emissions.

Last year, the Republic's sulphur dioxide, fine particulate matter, particulate matter and ozone emissions all exceeded World Health Organisation air quality guidelines.

Emissions here, however, are also affected by haze from neighbouring countries.