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Parliament: Singapore's air and water quality not affected by Johor fires, spills, says Khor

Residents in the north and north-eastern parts of Singapore complained about a burning smell after hot spots were detected in Johor between early February and mid-March. But tests by Singapore's National Environment Agency found the ambient air quali
Residents in the north and north-eastern parts of Singapore complained about a burning smell after hot spots were detected in Johor between early February and mid-March. But tests by Singapore's National Environment Agency found the ambient air quality to be in the "good" to "moderate" range.ST FILE PHOTO
Residents in the north and north-eastern parts of Singapore complained about a burning smell after hot spots were detected in Johor between early February and mid-March. But tests by Singapore's National Environment Agency found the ambient air quali
DR AMY KHOR

Singapore's air and water quality, as well as its water and food supplies, have not been affected significantly by recent fires and chemical spills in Johor last month.

Residents in the north and north-eastern parts of Singapore complained about a burning smell after hot spots were detected in the southern Malaysian state between early February and mid-March - the result of fires in two landfills and near an oil palm plantation.

But Singapore's National Environment Agency (NEA) found that the ambient air quality measured by the Pollutant Standards Index remained in the "good" to "moderate" range during this period, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources and Health, Dr Amy Khor, told Parliament yesterday.

"There is no direct correlation or association between the smells and the ambient air quality readings," she said, replying to MPs such as Ms Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC) and Non-Constituency MP Daniel Goh.

PM2.5 levels, which reflect the concentration of fine particulate matter in the air, remained normal, and the NEA did not detect elevated levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC) such as benzene, toluene and xylene in the air, Dr Khor said.

She also said that following the dumping of toxic chemicals last month into Kim Kim river in Johor's Pasir Gudang, the NEA did not detect physical, chemical and microbiological abnormalities in the Strait of Johor, near Pulau Ubin or at Singapore's recreational beaches.

It also did not find compounds from the Pasir Gudang chemical spill identified by Malaysia in the water samples.

 

"This incident has no impact on our water supply as the chemical dumping location is outside of our Johor River catchment area, where part of our water supply comes from," Dr Khor said.

CLEAN WATER

This incident has no impact on our water supply as the chemical dumping location is outside of our Johor River catchment area.

DR AMY KHOR Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources and Health, about the Pasir Gudang chemical spill.

She also said that fish farms in the Strait of Johor did not report unusual fish deaths.

"The Singapore Food Agency's tests of seafood samples from these fish farms for compounds such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, VOCs and heavy metals have not detected any anomalies.

"We will continue to monitor the situation... (and) step up our checks and enforcement to protect our environment and safeguard the health and safety of Singaporeans," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 02, 2019, with the headline 'S'pore's air and water quality not affected by Johor fires, spills: Khor'. Print Edition | Subscribe