Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Air pollution is posing a serious threat to the public’s health, with children, pregnant women, and outdoor workers being the most vulnerable groups, heard a workshop in Hanoi on January 17.

The event was jointly held by the Vietnam Non-Communicable Disease Prevention Alliance (NCDs-VN) and the Vietnam Sustainable Energy Alliance (VSEA).

Do Xuan Hoan, a member of the research group from the VSEA’s Green Innovation and Development Centre (GreenID), said the centre conducted a study on the air quality in Vietnam in 2016, focusing on the country’s largest cities, namely Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

According to the study, the average amount of PM2.5 dust (a subtype of atmospheric particulate matter) recorded in the southern economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City was a little bit higher than the national limit, while that in the capital city of Hanoi doubled the allowable level.

Hoan cited electricity generation, heavy industries, means of transports, waste burning, construction, and cooking as main factors that have caused air pollution. 

To improve the quality of air, he suggested that the country should quickly reducing artificial air pollution sources from industrial production, electricity generation, and transportation, while tighten the enforcement of legal regulations on construction and solid waste burning, and changing the cooking habits in families by encouraging them use more efficient and environmentally-friendly methods. 

At the same time, Vietnam should promote the building and enforcement of laws and regulations on air quality in accordance with international standards, he recommended. 

Dr. Do Manh Cuong, an official from the Ministry of Health’s Department of Health Environment Management Agency, warned that air pollution may cause respiratory failure, asthma, dermatitis, mental stress and cardiovascular diseases. 

Delegates emphasised the need to conduct specific assessments of environmental and health impacts caused by air pollution, in addition to providing health protection tips for the community, and monitoring the air quality both indoor and outdoor.-VNA