Mystery of Smoky Smell In The East of S’pore Solved: It’s Caused By JB & Might Come Back

Just two days ago, people in the eastern parts of Singapore woke up smelling (not the roses) but a burning stench in the air.

And immediately, everybody was on high alert.

Is it that time of the year? Is it Indonesia?

Nope, it wasn’t haze

Netizens mentioned that the affected areas were Simei, Pasir Ris, Tampines and Marine Parade (though there could be more areas).

The 24-hr PSI level in that area was, however, “Good”, though you can clearly see that the east and south of Singapore are way higher than the west.


A 65 PSI value is considered “Moderate”.

And the National Environment Agency (NEA) said it wasn’t too.

“Our investigations thus far have not detected any local sources of burning or factory upsets that could have contributed to the smell…No sources of transboundary haze were detected in the region.

Unfortunately, nobody can tell us what’s going on, although NEA said they’ll keep an eye out on the situation.

Until 9 Feb, that is.

The smoky smell caused by our neighbours, JB

Yes, the neighbouring country where we get our water from and the perfect short getaway for Singaporeans on a budget.

It turns out that just like two years ago in September 2017 where an industrial facility in JB burnt fuel, creating a “gas” smell in Singapore, the burning smell this time was caused by a burning landfill at Johor.

A fire broke out at a landfill located at Bandar Tenggara, southeastern Johor, and it has been burning since Tuesday.

The Malaysian authorities have been working non-stop to put out the fire since.

S’poreans have to endure a couple of days more

The NEA added that winds have been blowing from the northeast over the past few days.

And that it’ll continue in the same fashion for the next few days.

So for our brothers and sisters in the east, it seems like you’ll have to endure the burning smell for the next few days.

But don’t worry because the PM2.5 readings in the east range between 7 and 34 µg/m3 from 7 am on Saturday.

That’s within the Band I (Normal) range, and the level of volatile organic compounds in the air remains within safe limits.

The 24-hour PSI reading also read at 56 (at the time of writing), well within the moderate range.


NEA assured Singaporeans that they’ll be monitoring the situation closely.

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

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