Air quality in Ho Chi Minh City is predicted to worsen as local construction projects and factories resume operations.
Le Thi Xuan Lan, former deputy head of the Southern Regional Hydrometeorological Centre, said because of social distancing, there were few activities at industrial zones and there was no congestion. The air quality index shown by the AirVisual remained good.
“In the coming months, when construction resumes and more vehicles appear on the streets, HCM City surely will continue to face air pollution,” she said.
According to the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, the data recorded at 30 monitoring stations in the first quarter show that air pollution was improving. Moreover, the concentration of air pollutants in March was much lower than in January. The concentration of suspended dust dropped by 1.2 times, 1.44 times for the particulate matter 2.5 and 1.2 times for CO.
The department also agreed with Lan that social distancing has helped improve the situation but pollution will return along with traffic and construction.
Ho Quoc Bang, director of Air Pollution and Climate Change Research Centre, said the majority of emission in HCM City came from on-road vehicles. The vehicles emitted 99% of the CO, 78% of the SO2 and 46% of the dust. Industrial activities in the city contributed 22% of the SO2 and 21% of the dust.
As the number of personal vehicles increases, air pollution in big cities, including HCM City, would be even more serious. The authorities must have policies and specific goals to control emissions.