20130626 Prominence given to PSI wrong, MEWR continues to defy logic

The MEWR has basically continued to insist that its PSI is here to stay in “NEA includes PM 2.5 in its PSI assessment”: MEWR” dated 25 June.

While the PM2.5 has also been published on NEA’s site, it can be seen that MEWR has continued to prioritise the PSI reading over the currently more important PM 2.5.
On asiaone’s portal a few days ago, a table showed the 3 hour PSI reading with the PM2.5 intentionally left out.

Although the PSI was in the moderate range, PM2.5 was in the unhealthy range during the last few days. This overrides the less important PSI reading and renders it irrelevant.
NEA’s health advisory today – for healthy persons, minimise prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion – is again based on PM2.5 level.

Giving prominence to an irrelevant figure but issuing an advisory based on another reflects negatively on the NEA.

Regular Yahoo updates also showed PSI levels instead of PM2.5. Leaving out the more important figure has continued to give the wrong impression to the majority of people.
During conversations, the majority of people are heard talking about the PSI reading and based their activities on this, an unhealthy development.

NEA’s insistence on giving prominence to the PSI defies logic. The US did not upgrade to using AQI 14 years ago for cosmetic reasons. The PSI is indeed an archaic measurement which more netizens are beginning to believe that it serves only a business objective i.e. gives prominence to clear weather, green light for construction work.

Asiaone’s portal continues to give regular update showing ONLY the PSI. This is misleading. By providing the PM2.5 figure, more Singaporeans may start to question the government’s stand of allowing construction work in an unhealthy environment. If this is indeed not the government’s objective, the only way to convince Singaporeans is to give prominence to the PM2.5 instead of trying to divert the attention to other issues.

Better still, start using the AQI.

The dispute is not with the NEA not providing the PM2.5 figure but doing so in fine print when it should be the headline. MSM is also not acting responsibly by accepting information blindly.

Phillip Ang

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