NEA: Online PSI figure wasn't edited

Some doubts were cast on the accuracy of the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) when a photo with a PSI reading of 393 at 10pm last Wednesday was purportedly taken off the National Environment Agency's (NEA's) website.

The actual reading on the site was updated as 321 instead. This led some people to think that the NEA had edited the three-hourly PSI reading to a lower figure.

When contacted by My Paper on this, the NEA clarified last Friday that the reading was not edited nor tampered with.

Said a spokesman on Wednesday evening's PSI reading: "NEA has checked its website records, which confirm there was no PSI value posted higher than the three-hour PSI reading of 321."

She added that the 321 value for 10pm last Wednesday was correct and that "our records also show that there had been no editing or deletion of that PSI reading on the website".

My Paper understands it is possible to manipulate browser settings on a computer to edit text or values displayed on a website.

A My Paper test showed that the 2pm onscreen PSI reading yesterday could be edited to an astronomical figure on a Web browser (see screenshot).

But this was not a change to the website itself as refreshing the webpage restored the PSI reading to its actual value of 78.

On communication with the ground, Foreign Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam acknowledged yesterday at a community event that with many air-quality figures, it can be confusing.

But he added: "Unfortunately, there has been some deliberate misinformation put out in other media sources, I think, in an attempt to confuse people."

He did not want to comment further on this but said it was not done by the Government.

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