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Where’s the fire? People in eastern Singapore report burning smells but its source remains a mystery for now

The Independent logo The Independent 14/1/2022 Hana O
© The Independent Singapore

Singapore –  Is land being cleared for oil palm plantations in Indonesia? Is that awful haze back? Are people who live in east holding non-stop barbecues? Is something big in Tampines on fire? What on earth is burning?

Your guess is as good as that of the National Environment Agency (NEA).

In the past few days, there have been reports of burning smells in the eastern part of Singapore. The agency has been able only to tell that these smells are not caused by hot spots or localised industrial incidents.

“Burning smell since this morning. Now nighttime smell getting stronger,” netizen Norizan Rashid reported on Wednesday, in a post to the Facebook page Complaint Singapore.   She said it was coming from the eastern part of the country and asked if others were experiencing the same.

“It’s not the haze season, so I don’t think that’s the cause of it,” she said. “I was working my night shift at the airport last night; the smell was super strong. Now back at home in Tampines Street 81, also got the smell,” said Ms Norizan.

Other Facebook users observed that they had also experienced similar smells in their areas. “Little bit on Monday, got stronger yesterday,” said Facebook user Rayne Woo, adding that it had caused her asthma to return.

“Same. Strong smell in Tampines St 21. My allergies acted up. Kept sneezing, and my eyes were watery,” said  Mahathir Firdaus, while others said on Facebook that the smell was also present in the Pasir Ris and Bedok areas.

NEA has received reports on the burning smells and inspected affected areas.

“NEA’s checks did not find any local industrial incident that could have caused the smell,” the agency said in a Channel News Asia report.

“The Singapore Civil Defence Force also confirmed that they did not respond to any incidents involving open burning in the eastern part of Singapore.”

NEA added that no hotspots were detected in the eastern region.

“The 1-hour PM2.5 concentration readings have remained within the normal band (Band I) and 24-hour PSI levels within the ‘Good’ to ‘Moderate’ range”, said NEA, referring to the air quality.

Since Wednesday afternoon, NEA has not received further feedback on the issue, although it will continue monitoring the situation./TISG

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