The capital city will completely eradicate the use of honeycomb charcoal by 2021 as part of its efforts to curb worsening air pollution.
According to a directive signed by Chairman of Hà Nội People’s Committee Nguyễn Đức Chung, the city will provide support for citizens to stop the use of honeycomb briquette stoves by the end of 2020, and any further usage of the cheap but polluting fuel will be subject to penalties a year later.
Honeycomb briquettes, also known as beehive briquettes, gets their name from the shape which is very similar to a honeycomb. It is a very common charcoal fuel in domestic use in Việt Nam, though prevalence in modern cities has decreased sharply over the decades.
A recent survey by the Hà Nội Department of Natural Resources and Environment shows that there are currently about 55,000 stoves running on charcoal briquettes daily in the city.
Those stoves are expected to burn some 528.2 tonnes of coal and emit about 1,870 tonnes of carbon dioxide to the air a day, said Hà Nội environmental protection division head Mai Trọng Thái.
The Hà Nội People’s Committee has set a deadline of December 31 this year for all districts to fully inform residents in their areas on the city’s plan to ban the use of honeycomb briquettes for both domestic and commercial purposes.
District authorities will then carry out measures to help residents switch to other kinds of stoves which are “safe and friendly to the environment and the community’s health” during the buffer year of 2020.
The city’s Department of Industry and Commerce and Department of Finance should quickly develop policies and incentives for businesses and manufacturers which produce alternative stoves to the honeycomb briquettes.
They should also work on measures to support charcoal briquette manufacturers to convert their businesses. A report on this should be submitted to the People’s Committee for a final say by June 30, 2020.
The ban will go into effect from January 1, 2021 and all violations will face fines regulated in the Governmental decree on administrative penalties for environmental protection.