It is a relief to know the source of the chemical smell reported last Monday in certain parts of Singapore, and that action has been taken by the Johor authorities (Chemical smell across S'pore traced to Johor, Sept 30; and Chemical stench: Johor issues stop-work order to Pasir Gudang plant, Oct 1).
The National Environment Agency (NEA) and Singapore Civil Defence Force had investigated promptly when complaints about the smell were first received.
They ascertained that there were no toxic chemicals in the air and, most importantly, reassured Singaporeans that the air quality was well within safety limits.
The NEA was also proactive in contacting the Johor Department of Environment for assistance.
However, there were expressions of disappointment with the agencies when the source of the smell could not be found in the first few days, and admonishments that incidents like these should be viewed more seriously (Poor show by authorities over mystery smell, by Mr Chia Ping Kheong, Sept 27; and Worrying that the authorities cannot explain mystery smell, by Mr Adrian Soh Mun Wai, Sept 29).
We cannot expect the authorities to have the answers to everything immediately, especially if the source of the problem is not local, as this case has turned out to be.