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.