The capital city is preparing to install an additional 20 air-monitoring stations

Hanoi (VNA) - The capital city is preparing to install an additional 20 air-monitoring stations, municipal officials say.

Nine of these will be at major intersections and nine others in crowded urban areas, Nguyen Trong Dong, Director of the city’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment, told the Tien Phong (the Vanguard) newspaper.

Dong said the installations would assist agencies in issuing timely air-quality warnings to residents.

The move comes after several reports in the mass media blamed city authorities for not issuing any warning to residents despite a sharp plunge in the air-quality for several days.

According to the environment department, there are six air-monitoring stations in the city, but only two - one on Nguyen Van Cu Street and another on Phao Dai Lang Street – are operational.

One station was installed in the office of the department on Pham Van Dong Street in 2002, but it has not worked since 2010.

A department official said the machine was outdated, and it was hard to replace faulty parts after it broke down.

Other idle stations are in the Hanoi University of Science and in the Institute of Environmental Science and Engineering.

Hoang Duong Tung, Deputy Head of the Vietnam Environment Administration, blamed the situation on a shortage of funds.

He said it costs about 1 billion VND (44,800 USD) a year to fun an air-monitoring station, but actual funding fell far short of what is needed.

While the installation of 20 additional air-monitoring stations was imperative at the moment, relevant agencies should allocate enough funds for their operation, he said.

Meanwhile, in HCM City, which has a population of over eight million, the municipal administration has been advised to invest 495 billion VND (22.1 million USD) in establishing 252 air and water quality monitoring stations by 2020.-VNA