27 June 2013

Pollutant Standards Index — Facts, Opinions and Dangerous Misperceptions

Singapore's National Environment Agency ("NEA") uses the Pollutant Standards Index ("PSI") together with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards developed by US Environmental Protection Agency.

As the haze in Singapore started to worsen, NEA published the 3-hour PSI readings from 6 a.m. to midnight and the 24-hour pollutant concentrations three times daily.

How PSI Is Computed
PSI is determined from the concentrations of the following five pollutants (measured in micrograms per cubic metre): respirable particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and carbon monoxide.  The concentration of each pollutant is then converted to a PSI sub-index ranging from 0 to 500.[1]

24 June 2013

Distributing N95 Masks Public Relations Exercise

When the Government announced that it would be distributing one million N95 face masks free to 200,000 lower-income and other vulnerable households, many people thought that it would be a low-key administrative effort.

It turned out to be otherwise.

MediaCorp TV showed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at a town hall meeting to discuss the haze issue with residents before going around a block of rental flats with his entourage to distribute the face masks on 23 June.

20 June 2013

What Singapore And Malaysia Must Do To Stop Haze

The Haze Situation
The 3-hour Pollutant Standards Index ("PSI") reached 371 — considered to be hazardous — at 1 p.m. on 20 June 2013, the highest level ever recorded in Singapore.

According to National Environment Agency, weather conditions in the region have become drier recently and 187 hot spots were observed over Indonesia's central Sumatra on 18 June 2013.  The smoke haze from fires such as these have affected Singapore and peninsula Malaysia since 13 June 2013.

Correction.  The smoke haze from Indonesia has affected Singapore and peninsula Malaysia for almost two decades.

13 June 2013

Balakrishnan, NEA, One (or More) Stall-Holders vs AHPETC — Cleaning High Areas at Food Centres Part II

One would have thought that a simple matter such as the provision of scaffolding for cleaning the high areas at blocks 511 and 538 Bedok North Street 3 could have been resolved rather easily.

But it seems to be quite resistant to common sense resolution.

Invitation To Quote
National Environment Agency ("NEA") released a copy of a quotation dated 19 February 2013 from ATL Maintenance Pte Ltd to Blk 538 Market Association for high-rise cleaning of the entire premises, from 4 March to 8 March 2013, at block 538 Bedok North Street 3.[1]  It included, among other things, the provision of scaffolding by ATL Maintenance.

07 June 2013

Teo Ho Pin On Mosquito Breeding

Sembawang-Nee Soon Town Council was fined $200 after National Environment Agency found 14 mosquito larvae in the water tanks on the rooftops of blocks 896C and 899A in Woodlands.[1]

Is The Water Safe For Consumption
As the mosquito larvae were found in the water tanks, it raises the question as to whether water drawn from those water tanks was safe for consumption without prior boiling.

Neither NEA nor Public Utilities Board, the national water agency, appears to have any press releases on their websites regarding this matter.
Teo Ho Pin's Comments
Coordinating Chairman for PAP-managed town councils and Member of Parliament Teo Ho Pin said, "Water tanks have got many areas which are difficult to access for normal inspection and become very challenging.  You have breeding in some of these places because the birds actually bring leaves and twigs and choke our rooftop drains and it is quite difficult to inspect rooftops every day."[1]

06 June 2013

Fare Review Mechanism Report Delayed Yet Again

Fare Review Mechanism Committee ("FRMC"), which was supposed to submit its report to the Government this month, will now need another few more months to complete its report.

What's happening?

05 June 2013

Do Singaporeans Believe What The Government Says?

Recent events appear to indicate that many Singaporeans do not believe what the Government tells them.

Media Development Authority announced on 28 May 2013 that any online news site that reports regularly on issues relating to Singapore and has significant reach among readers in Singapore would require an individual licence from 1 June.

Broadcasting (Class Licence)(Amendment) Notification 2013 was gazetted the following day.

Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim and MDA took pains to assure netizens and the general public that: