Parliamentary Question, 3 March 2020
Ms Anthea Ong asked the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources given that Singapore incinerates over 90% of its plastic waste (a) how is air quality coming out of the flue monitored; (b) whether there is a testing for a broad range of toxins and, if so, which toxins are tested for; and © whether the results of the air quality tests done at the end of the incineration plant flues be published in order to give comfort and shed light on the safety and health impact of this process.
Mr Masagos Zulkifli B M M: The National Environment Agency (NEA) requires all operators of Waste-to-Energy (WTE) plants to engage an accredited laboratory to conduct emissions tests and submit results of those tests to NEA at least once a year. This is to ensure that the emissions from WTE plants comply with emission standards specified under the Environmental Protection and Management (Air Impurities) Regulations. These standards cover key pollutants associated with the incineration of plastics waste, such as carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, as well as dioxins and furans. Under the Environmental Protection and Management Act (EPMA), operators who fail to meet the specified standards can be fined up to $20,000 on the first conviction and up to $50,000 on the second or subsequent conviction. To complement emissions testing, NEA inspects WTE plants twice a year to verify that pollution control equipment are properly maintained and operating effectively.
Singapore’s emission standards are published as part of the Environmental Protection and Management (Air Impurities) Regulations under the EPMA. They are comparable with those in other jurisdictions. Our regulations do not require operators of individual facilities, including WTE plants, to publish their emissions test results. Nonetheless, operators of WTE plants may do so voluntarily. For the NEA-operated plants, data on the most common pollutants of concern, namely particulate matter, sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen, are published annually on NEA’s website.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Anthea Ong is a Nominated Member of Parliament. (A Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) is a Member of the Parliament of Singapore who is appointed by the President. They are not affiliated to any political party and do not represent any constituency. There are currently nine NMPs in Parliament.)
The multi-sector perspective that comes from her ground immersion of 12 years in different capacities helps her translate single-sector issues and ideas across boundaries without alienating any particular community/group. As an entrepreneur and with many years in business leadership, it is innate in her to discuss social issues with the intent of finding solutions, or at least of exploring possibilities. She champions mental health, diversity and inclusion — and climate change in Parliament.
She is also an impact entrepreneur/investor and a passionate mental health advocate, especially in workplace wellbeing. She started WorkWell Leaders Workgroup in May 2018 to bring together top leaders (CXOs, Heads of HR/CSR/D&I) of top employers in Singapore (both public and private) to share, discuss and co-create inclusive practices to promote workplace wellbeing. Anthea is also the founder of Hush TeaBar, Singapore’s 1st silent teabar and a social movement that aims to bring silence, self care and social inclusion into every workplace, every community — with a cup of tea. The Hush Experience is completely led by lovingly-trained Deaf facilitators, supported by a team of Persons with Mental Health Issues (PMHIs).
Follow Anthea Ong on her public page at www.facebook.com/antheaonglaytheng