Toxic pollution plaguing residents of Punggol, Sengkang and Pasir Ris may be traced to Malaysia’s Pasir Gudang


The toxic air pollution plaguing residents of Punggol, Sengkang, Buangkok and Pasir Ris may be traced to the exhaust fumes rising from Pasir Gudang – a petro-chemical industrial complex about a quarter the size of Singapore, running 24/7 in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

Accounts of a strange smell in the air and charcoal-black particles floating in the air in these eastern neighbourhoods have been openly recounted for several years now. Residents have complained of a pungent, chemical-like odor that smells like burning plastic or petroleum and so much charcoal particles accumulating on their floors that they are forced to clean their floors more frequently than usual.

This issue is so pressing that it has been pointed out since at least 2007 – a decade ago – and yet the odor and particles persist.

Today, the air was so polluted in these eastern areas and smelt so strongly that the odor wafted into Fernvale, Holland, Commonwealth, Bishan, Ang Mo Kio, Serangoon and Seletar.

Such toxic pollution does not only inconvenience residents but will likely harm residents’ health. In fact, the pollution was so bad today that some residents reported that they had difficulty breathing.

In spite of this, the National Environment Agency has only said that it is monitoring the issue and it is unclear whether it has taken action.

The SCDF also investigated the issue and said that no toxic industrial chemicals were detected in the air. Curiously, many residents specifically called the strong “suffocating” odor “chemical-like” just today.

Individuals around Singapore told reporters and shared on social networking sites that:

Muhammad Zulkefly from Sengkang: “It smelt like petroleum, and that was disturbing. I had trouble breathing.”

Linda Lian from Sengkang West: “(it smelled like) burnt rubber or some unknown chemical.”

Maria Sariff from Hougang: “(the smell was) very strong…like plastic burning.”

Angela Marie Oehlers from Buangkok: “So there’s this terrible smell in Buangkok area … Fernvale also. Looks hazy and smells like oil or something, not the usual haze smell.”

Mrs Ho from Serangoon: “We were having dinner when the smell came very quickly at about 7.40pm. It was very strong. We had to close all the windows immediately.”

Chan Yoke Yee from Ang Mo Kio: “(the smell was) giving me a headache.”

Michelle Tng Ying from Holland: “I thought it was something burning in my own house as I had my oven turned on, but then when I stepped onto the balcony, the smell got stronger – smelt like really strong paint.”

These are just accounts from today. Many others have complained about this issue over the years:

Blogger heartlandpuppy has recently published a record of all the public complaints affected residents have made of the pollution. Click here to see all the links to online accounts by residents who suffer the side effects of environmental contamination daily.

Fumes arising from Pasir Gudang can be seen from Singapore, across the Straits of Johor


  1. If it is toxic then why did SCDF said they have measure the air quality and found that it is non toxic?!!! Am one of the affected residents. Call NEA all I got from them after waiting for 15 mins on the.line is they are investigating took my number and nvr return call. Now they claimed that the air was toxic. We can even rely on the correct stat board that is in charge and we have to fend for ourselves when our estate was covered by the thick cloud of toxic polluted air. Hope that same air covered yishun as well. If you know what I mean. And what is the authority going to do since now we know the source of the toxic air.

  2. Authorities please do your job! My entire family was surprised to smell almost toxic liked smell in the air last night! Eyes was also irritated too! What’s going on?!!!!

  3. That is why never stay in Punggol and Sengkang. The air certainly is more polluted as Punggol is very near to Pasir Gudang oil refineries.
    Our government can’t do anything but only hope for wind direction change.

  4. WP did not mention it in parliament especially they knew that the air in parliament is more smelly than the toxic gas from Pasir Gudang
    Even Dr Tambyah at NUH can smell the air from parliament, so is Dr Lee Wei Ling from TTSH NNI at Novena

Comments are closed.