Residents fume over car exhaust

Residents fume over car exhaust
After the poles were removed, vehicles now park even closer to the homes of ground-floor residents.

SINGAPORE - Insurance agent Cassi Wong never opens the windows of her ground-floor HDB flat in Choa Chu Kang North 6.

Neither does her neighbour.

But it's not because they are anti-social or averse to fresh air.

For the last three months, the two neighbours have had to put up with the exhaust fumes from cars and other motor vehicles waiting at a popular loading and unloading bay next to their flat.

Leaving the windows open would mean a perpetual stench lingering in their flats.

It wasn't always like this.

Previously, the HDB had put bollards at the bay to deter illegal parking.

And while the bollards did not stop motorists from waiting there, the vehicles had to park further from the ground-floor units.

But in June, HDB removed the bollards.

Instead, HDB installed closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras to catch errant motorists and deter illegal parking. (See report, right.)

Yet, despite the cameras and prominent signs warning against illegal parking, offenders continue to do so.

Only now, the vehicles illegally park even closer to the flats, residents say.

Madam Wong and her neighbour, Madam Ivy Yong, said the problem for them is getting worse.

"When the poles were around, there were many people who parked illegally. But now, without the poles, they park even closer to my house," said Madam Wong, 41, who suffers from asthma.

"I have to close all the windows, all the time. I feel like a prisoner in my own home."

Madam Yong, 47, who has been living there for the past five years, also keeps her windows closed constantly.

"Some of the motorists turn on their engine and the smell is overwhelming, and they don't realise it because they are in their air-con vehicles," she said.

"But they would usually turn them off if I tell them to."

Their block is next to a coffee shop, a mini-mart and a kindergarten.

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