Please note: I receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post: https://honeygusto.com/flow-air-monitor
So, I wanted to just give you a running commentary of the recent mapping exercise I did for Singapore air quality data. This is where we started, in Orchard. You’ll see that’s the York Hotel on the left-hand side and on the right-hand side what we’re looking at in the black apartment block is where I stayed in Oakwood Studios. So, this walk took around an hour and a half to complete.
What I did was a little cheeky cut through the York Hotel lobby. I’m sure they won’t mind, there are hundreds of guests that stay here constantly, but this was the best way to get to the main road. Otherwise, it’s quite a significant detour. So, this is a little side street and typically busses will park in here, nothing major, some car parking, couple restaurants around here and I constantly was checking the Singapore air quality data. Every minute the Flow device takes a reading and syncs to the app.
So, what we’re doing here is we’re just going on to Scotts Road, it’s quite a busy main road in Singapore. So, here we are, a lot of buses. The one thing that helps Singapore air quality data is the vehicles are all very new, so the emission standards are a lot stricter so the pollution levels are lower. That’s why the NO2 levels I’m consistently getting in the app are lower than what you would expect given the volume of traffic. So, you’ll see there’s a good distance away from the pavement here. The hedgerows, all the trees will help with the absorption of air pollutants.
Now, we are just at the National Environment Agency of Singapore. That’s the equivalent of like the EA of England or EPA in America. Still on the right-hand side. Ironically doing an environmental health-based exercise, which is why I thought it was kind of funny just to mention that there. That’s where they’re situated. So, you’ll see, again, I’m just about to walk under this gantry. A significant distance away from the road, we’re still on Scotts Road at the moment. Again, I guess barriers for absorption for the air pollutants.
Newton Hawker Centre
Now, we are at Newton Subway station again, really far away from the roads and the air pollutant levels were quite low here. Naturally, there are not any combustion sources. The internal combustion engines of the cars are meters away, but now we’re going across the bridge to Newton Hawker Center. Quite a busy road here. The road that you’re seeing to the right is Bukit Timah Road. That roundabout as well you’re seeing in the centre of the screen, that’s what we’re heading down to. But, to get there, we’re taking a minor detour through the Hawker Center.
So, the air pollutant levels are high here actually. Really, really high and imagine all the cooking oils, the combustion, the open flames and the stove. The volume of people, I guess the steam meant that the PM levels, the particular matter levels were high here, which is quite interesting to think actually what could be the potential long-term health effects in Singapore. It’s very common to eat in Hawker Center. Some people might do it every day and what could be the potential respiratory impact long term, many years down the line.
So, now we’ve crossed over from the Hawker Center, we’re going under the bridge, cross the road at the lights and now we’re at the roundabout that we saw when we were crossing over the bridge to get to Newton Hawker centre. So, a bit further up there is a canal on the right-hand side. We will come back and walk across that briefly in the second half of the walk.
Affluent but clean?
Now, we’re on Newton Road. So, from Scotts Road through the roundabout connects to Newton Road. This is a very nice area in Singapore. Probably one of the more affluent areas in Singapore. Standard of living is very high across the board regardless of the housing you live in. But, this here is particularly nice. Again, you’ll see quite a distance away from the pavement, which always helps, hedgerows, trees, grass, everything that can mitigate the fumes. But, one thing, like I said that helped is Singapore has the standard for their cars where you notice even in the videos, there are not any old cars. You don’t see them, a lot of them are very new. That’s just Singapore’s laws and legislation for car management.
After the cars are 10 years old, they’re sent onto other Southeast Asian countries. So, naturally, if they’re newer, they’re cleaner burning and emit less NOx. That’s nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide. Due to more complete combustion, you will still be getting substantial amounts of CO2 and contributing to global warming, but, it’s cleaner air and safer air for people.
Novena air quality data
So, now we’re in Novena, central area of Novena, heading on straight, we’re about to do a loop turn. There’s me, feeling the heat. High humidity. It’s the same temperature in Singapore every day. Now, we’re cutting through Goldhill Plaza, no cars here. Now we’re past Goldhill Plaza. We’re still in Novena. We’ve now officially turned backwards and we’ve completed the kind of first half of the loop and now we’re heading back towards Orchard. So, this area, as you can see is a lot quieter, a lot more residential, plenty of condominium blocks. So, some of the lowest levels of air pollution were recorded here. Below average for the entirety of the work.
Although here, it was very surprising actually. There were still some peaks. I’m not sure what caused it. So, you see the point here on the screen and the AQI was 29 to 35 so I’m not sure what caused that.
This is the canal I mentioned earlier on, so that’s on the left-hand side. We will shortly cross over a little bridge to get over to the other side. Here we are, and we got the highest readings of the entire walk from what’s opposite me right now. There is a construction site for, I assume a new condo. They gave AQI readings of 70 so that means that the lights in the Flow were flashing red. So, yes this was the highest levels. Probably because of all of the disturbed ground, the suspended particles in the air for the dust, the sand, the grit, led to high levels.
So, now we are crossing over Bukit Timah Road. Nice view on either side. We will cross the other side and now enter a similar area what we had in Novena, a quiet area here called Winstedt Road. Again similar levels of low air pollution were recorded. You probably notice I have sped up the camera in many instances guys, to like two to 2.5 times the normal speed. Some of the lowest levels of air pollution were recorded here.
I took a brief pause here just to look at what that truck was doing. I want to see if high levels of air pollution are registering because the truck was idling its engine.
But, now we turned off Winstedt Road and we’re now on Clemenceau Road. Maybe butchered that name, but again the single point there that was recorded of 9 EQI was the lowest single point of the entire walk for Singapore air quality data.
Zebra crossing over Clemenceau Road onto Anthony Road. We will soon be coming to the back end of the NEA building, getting back into the Newton area now. Low levels of air pollution as well here. Not many cars around. There’s the NEA building actually, on the right-hand side and we’re turning down the little street that we would have seen on our right-hand side when we were walking up Scotts Road. Now, we’re back on Scotts Road at this busy junction. I paused at the lights. You can maybe wait here for 60 seconds or longer so you could get some high levels of exposure to the pollution while we are waiting, a lot of cars can be at this crossroad junction, a three-way junction here.
Now, we’re on the other side of the Scotts Road heading home in the opposite direction. So, you’ll notice that we were on the other side of the road at the beginning of this walk at the start of the video. Now, we are on the other side. So, we’re now probably an hour and 15 minutes into the walk, I say, we’ve probably got another 10-15 minutes to go. I’m having to wait for 60 seconds or longer at Scotts Road, stopped at this busy, busy, busy junction for probably a minute. So, I take a couple of stills here. Again, waiting for a prolonged period when a lot of cars are idling could lead to quite adverse levels of air pollution exposure. But, the NOx levels weren’t as high. Again, cars are a lot newer.
Back in Orchard
So, now we’re back on the other side of Scotts Road. You’ll see on the left-hand side here from that blue arrow that this was actually where we merged from the shortcut at the beginning of the walk. We crossed the road, we’re now at Far East Plaza, back in Orchard. Busy shopping area here. Plenty of people. Again, taxis are everywhere, many cars, not moving at any great pace. You see there are tons of cars actually on the right-hand side.
AQI naturally given the current state was quite high up at 40 AQI. That’s an amber reading for the Flow. I should say, I just couldn’t help but resist taking a picture of this, the cool car. Then you’ve got a blue Aston Martin I believe here. I thought again, “Why not?” Just show you guys what you’re dealing with in an Orchard, Singapore. It’s that kind of lifestyle I suppose.
Now, we’re on to Orchard Road. We turned the corner onto Orchard Road. Again, high levels of AQI here: 40-45. Then we turned onto this little smokers corridor, we’re near the end of the walk. There’s normally a lot more people here smoking. I wanted to see what the levels of black carbon or particular matter would be from smoking, but I actually did a second walk and the levels were a lot higher there. They registered in the red zone so I think it was well above 50. But, I’ll give a thorough analysis of that in the next article.
We’re on our final street. This is the street that I stay on. Oakwood is just a bit further up on the right-hand side. Again, here there’s always a lot of traffic with delivery vans into Paragon, a kind of shopping centre. So, again, high levels of air pollution are present.
Past that, just about to cross the last road here until we are home.
I thought I’d just give you an update with a video commentary on what you’re seeing here with me filming with the GoPro for Singapore air quality data. For about an hour and a half’s- worth of walking just condensed into a 13-minute video.
We’re now back at the condominium block, back home. You’ll be happy to know that when my Flow is my room, the air pollution levels are registering as green, so very low back in the safety and comforts of my own home with my rather sweaty t-shirt as well. That’s the Singapore humidity for you.
There’ll be more to come soon for the Flow.
Plume air report app device analysis
The set of LED lights is different from the single-dot LED for battery status. They form a circle and will start to flash and rotate when the device is taking a measurement.
There is also a purple colour for super high pollution concentrations, but I've never experienced this firsthand, only when the data is synced to the app.
The red light means the battery is low. When the device has a medium charge, it'll be yellow, although I don't think the yellow is that obvious; maybe I'm colourblind! Either way, it's not a big deal as when the device is fully charged, it's green and that's pretty obvious.
The 'yellow' almost looks 'whitish' to me but is synonymous to medium-charge in my brain.
Check out the short video clip as an example for pollution status.
In this example, you'll see the status is 'Green', which means low air pollution.
So the Flow is loaded with tonnes of these little holes which allows for the passage of air. In fact, so long as the device has charge, it'll draw in the air constantly, with a little internal fan spinning at 15,000 RPM!
This effectively controls air intake so the devices is never stagnant, which reduces the risk of it becoming blocked with dust.
Personally, I hooked the Flow through my rucksack but I see no reason why you couldn't do something similar with a push pram or bicycle handlebars.
If you can think of something else, go for it!
As the air and pollutants come through the device, they'll be categorized as either nitrogen dioxide, VOCs or PM.
Flow creates electrical signals that send quantitative data to the companion app that's read on your end as an AQI - air quality index score. The higher the number, the poorer the air quality.
For example, an AQI of below 20 is low and registered as green.
I’m certainly not neglecting indoor air pollution either. Discover the sources of pollution in your home with this illustration here.
Please note: I receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post: https://honeygusto.com/flow-air-monitor. But these are all products I highly recommend. I would never post about a product/service I haven’t verified and/or personally used.