Smoky smell in Singapore's east caused by Johor landfill fire, says NEA

Channel NewsAsia 9 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE: A smoky smell that has lingered in the air around the eastern part of Singapore was caused by a fire at a Johor landfill, Singapore’s environment authority said on Saturday (Feb 9).

The fire at a landfill at Bandar Tenggara, southeastern Johor, has been burning since Tuesday, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said.

“Malaysian authorities have been working around the clock to stop the burning,” an NEA spokesperson said in response to queries from Channel NewsAsia.

Residents in the eastern part of Singapore have reported a smoky smell in the air since early Friday morning, with some speculating on social media whether it was caused by haze blowing in from other countries.

NEA said then that it did not detect "any local sources of burning or factory upsets" that could have caused the smell. No transboundary haze was detected in the region either, it said.

On Friday, the hourly PM2.5 readings from 4am to 5am in the east were recorded at 70 to 73µg/m3, in Band II (Elevated) for air quality. The readings for the rest of Singapore were in Band 1 (Normal).

At 11am, the air quality in the east improved to Band I (Normal).

However, from 10pm on Friday night, NEA received reports from residents in the area that the smell had returned.

The agency said it reached out to Johor’s Department of Environment, which confirmed the landfill fire.

“The winds over Singapore have been blowing from the northeast over the past few days and are forecasted to persist for the next few days,” NEA said.

The hourly PM2.5 readings in the east since 7am on Saturday ranged from 7 to 34 µg/m3, in Band I (Normal). Levels of volatile organic compounds in the air continue to remain within safe limits, the agency said.

“We are closely monitoring the air quality, and will provide updates should there be any change in the situation,” it added.

Source: CNA/cy

Burning smell in eastern Singapore due to fire at landfill in Johor: NEA
Goh Yan Han Straits Times 9 Feb 19;

SINGAPORE - The National Environment Agency (NEA) has pinpointed the source of a burning smell in eastern Singapore to a fire at a Johor landfill.

The spokesman said that during NEA’s checks, it also contacted Johor's Department of Environment, who confirmed on Saturday morning (Feb 9) that there had been a fire at a landfill in Bandar Tenggara, in south-eastern Johor.

“The fire has been burning since Feb 5, 2019, and the Malaysian authorities have been working around the clock to stop the burning,” he added.

NEA confirmed that it has continued to receive feedback of a smoky smell in the eastern part of Singapore since 10pm on Friday.

The winds over Singapore have been blowing from the north-east over the past few days and are forecasted to persist for the next few days, said the spokesman.

Some Singaporeans were still experiencing a burning smell on Saturday morning, according to posts on social media.

The smell had also apparently returned on Friday night, affecting people between 10pm and 3am.

Facebook user Chandrakanth Kamath said that the smell started again at around 11.30pm in Simei that night, while a resident in Tampines said that she smelled it at 11pm.

People on social media said that this was affecting them physically.

On Twitter, user Soshimood said at 12am: "Haze clouding the east, my eyes are so dry."

Another user said that her eyes hurt from the haze.

At 1am, user Wang Qing Wei tweeted: "Room smells so hazy to the point where I could hardly breathe."

Residents in Paya Lebar also experienced the same burning smell at 3am.

According to the NEA website, the PSI on Friday night peaked at 68 from 12am to 3am for the east, which is in the moderate range.

At 10am on Saturday, the reading was 60.

Earlier on Friday morning, a strong burning smell was reported over several parts of eastern Singapore, including Tampines, Bedok and Pasir Ris.

On Friday afternoon, 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."