Every country failed the WHO's 2021 air quality standards - including Singapore

Derryn Wong
2022 Singapore Air Quality Pollution - CarBuyer Singapore

And Singapore’s air quality still sucks. Terrible results highlight the importance of reducing local air pollution through EVs first, and pushing renewable energy to help combat air pollution

Shanghai, China – Down-lifting news for the month: The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced last week that not a single country in the world managed to meet its air quality standards in 2021.

You probably think, this isn’t a problem – Singapore has pretty decent air quality, right since it’s almost always ‘normal’ according to No, sadly our air quality is quite bad as CarBuyer’s report on this in 2018 shows, and it hasn’t improved much since then, if at all.

2022 Singapore WHO Air Quality - CarBuyer Singapore
The WHO’s short term air quality targets have been revised upwards, probably because few countries passed the criteria

The WHO’s guidelines recommend not exceeding 5.0 micrograms per cubic metre (μg/m3) for PM2.5 and 15μg/m3 for PM10. In late 2021, it announced the interim target of 15μg/m3 for PM2.5 and 45μg/m3 for PM10.

Singapore blitzes PM2.5 – according to our 24-hour PM2.5 reading is around 55μg/m3, while passing for PM10 at 30μg/m3. We also pass for oxides of nitrogen (2μg/m3) but fail for carbon monoxide (8μg/m3).

2022 Singapore Air Quality - CarBuyer Singapore
See how Singapore’s air quality stacks up – official readings from

That’s still bad news though – PM2.5’s refer to ultra-fine particles that can not only be inhaled, but also enter your bloodstream through your lungs, and can have serious long term health effects.

Why should you care? According to the WHO, air pollution kills an estimated seven million people per year. In Singapore, chronic respiratory diseases make up more than four percent of our total disease burden, and is the 11th leading cause of death (not counting lung cancer).

BMW shows us that a guilt-free electric drive can also be fun with its new i4 sedan

What does this have to do with cars? A key part of pollution is created by transportation. The WHO recommends various measures, but the obvious thing here with regards to transport is to implement stricter emissions laws, reduce combustion engines, switch to electric/electrified vehicles, and to phase out fossil fuels from energy generation.

Singapore’s Green Plan 2030 is now seeing effect with increasing electrified vehicle takeup rates and first HDB EV chargers appearing, but it’s news like this that tell us we really can’t afford to delay efforts to reduce pollution and go renewable any longer.


air quality health PM10 PM2.5 pollution PSI safety Singapore WHO

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's former chief editor was previously the editor for Top Gear Singapore, and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he is the Chief Slave of two cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong

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