Scientists found 15 times more pollutants in Orchard Rd

Scientists found 15 times more pollutants in Orchard Rd
Research scientists Gideon Aschwanden (left) and Erik Velasco found 15 times as many pollutants in the air in Orchard Road on Friday compared to just a fortnight ago. The Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology duo have been taking readings along the shopping stretch for nearly two months.

SINGAPORE - Shoppers along Orchard Road on Saturday afternoon may have encountered an odd sight: two "ghost-busters" equipped with handheld and backpack scanners.

Actually research scientists, Mexican Erik Velasco and Swiss Gideon Aschwanden, from the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology, have collected pollutant data along Orchard Road every weekday for nearly two months for an ongoing project.

They went out to log information on a Saturday for the first time yesterday as they felt the haze would offer too useful a data set to pass up.

"The haze has provided us with some very interesting information," said Dr Velasco, 39, with what looked like a futuristic iron in each hand.

One machine measures the number of dust particles in the air, while the other breaks them down by size: from PM10, the particles measured by PSI readings all the way down to tiny PM1 particles that are especially dangerous.

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