Air quality index in Hanoi, HCM City exceeds safe limit for times hinh anh 1Smoke exhaled from a plant in Tan Binh district, HCM City (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Alarming pollution readings were recorded in the capital of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in the previous year, heard a conference jointly held by the Green Innovation and Development Centre (GreenID) and the Vietnam Live and Learn Centre for Environment and Community in Hanoi on January 30.

Research from the GreenID showed that Air Quality Index, calculated based on the PM2.5 annual mean concentration, in Vietnam’s two largest cities exceeded the safe limit set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) many times. Especially, air pollution was rapidly deteriorating at the end of the year as low temperature resulted in slow distribution of dust and pollutants.

Analysis in November and December 2017 stated that the air pollution in Hanoi was sourced from heavy industries like steel works, cement factories and coal power plants in Quang Ninh province. Meanwhile, smog blanked most parts of the southern hub of HCM City due to pollution from transportation, power plants and industrial parks in the city.

Nguyen Thi Anh Thu, a representative from the GreenID, said that last year, Hanoi had 257 days and HCM City had 222 days when the Air Quality Index exceeded the safe limit set by the WHO. Statistics from the US Embassy revealed that the atmospheric quality in the two cities was much lower than India’s New Delhi and Mumbai. However, the pollution levels in Hanoi and HCM City are almost equal to that in China’s smog-prone capital, Beijing.

Alisa from US Embassy in Hanoi said that labourers have the right to know how the environment in working places and residential areas affect their health, thus, the US Government installed monitoring stations to publicise the air quality index. The American nation adopted the Clean Air Act in 2017, she noted.

Recommendations given at the conference included using cleaner and more effective fuels, planting trees, keeping children away from smokes and setting up early warning systems for residents in areas prone to severe air pollution.

Dr. Hoang Duong Tung, former Deputy Director of the Vietnam Environment Administration, said that authorities should keep tight control on emissions from four sectors, namely coal-fueled thermoelectricity, cement, steel and chemicals, as they contribute 80 percent of the total gas emissions, and publicise information on air monitoring statistics.

Relevant agencies should deploy measures to control emissions from motorbikes and monitor construction projects in Hanoi and HCM City, he added.-VNA