Singapore is often recognized for its cleanliness and greenery, but the air quality in Singapore can pose a significant risk to public health. Following a recent study that links poor air quality to cognitive problems in babies and toddlers, this issue has been brought to the forefront of people's attention.
Impact of Air Pollution on Babies' Brains
A recent study from the University of East Anglia shows a concerning association. And it's between poor air quality in India and impaired cognition in infants under two. The study reveals that very small particulate fragments in the air are a significant concern. Why? They can move from the respiratory tract into the brain.
Until now, studies have failed to show a link between poor air quality and cognitive problems in babies, when brain growth is at its peak and the brain may be particularly sensitive to toxins.
Air Quality in Singapore
The current air quality in Singapore is generally good, with an air quality index of 33 US AQI, which is well within the "good" range.
However, Singapore does experience varying levels of air pollution throughout the year, with the main pollutant being PM2.5.
In 2019, Singapore's average PM2.5 concentration was almost twice the recommended level of 10 µg/m³. Hence, giving it a "moderate" rating on the US Air Quality Index system. Nonetheless, Singapore had the second-best air quality in Southeast Asia, following the Philippines.
Pollution levels vary throughout the city of Singapore. Also, individuals can use IQAir's air quality in Singapore map to identify areas with the highest pollution levels.
Sources of Polluted Air Quality in Singapore
As a city-state, air pollutants in Singapore mainly come from traffic and industry. As well as seasonal haze from forest fires in neighbouring island states.
Although severe haze events can cause an increase in hospital admissions due to respiratory illnesses, they are uncommon. In connection, all haze events are short-term.
It's given that routine haze events have minimal impact on air quality. So Singapore's Ministry of Health advises residents to continue normal activities unless the PSI rises above 100.
What is Singapore Doing About Air Pollution?
The government has taken several measures to reduce polluted air in Singapore. Firstly, in 2017, Singapore adopted Euro VI standards to reduce petrol vehicle emissions. Additionally, NEA approved NSFD supply in 2013 and cleaner petrol in 2017 to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions. Furthermore, the Source Emission Test Scheme monitors industries' air emissions compliance. Finally, NEA comprehensively monitors air pollution and provides 24-hour PSI and 1-hour PM2.5 readings to residents as an air quality forecast for informed decisions.
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