Red alarm on air quality: will Hanoi become another Beijing?

If Hanoi doesn’t take action now to improve the air quality, it will face serious air pollution problems in the future that now plague Beijing, experts say.

Hoang Ngoc Quang from the Hanoi University of Natural Resources and the Environment, citing the air quality indexes (AQI) in the week from January 20 to January 26, said that the air quality in the capital city is alarming.

The reports from air monitoring stations in Trung Yen 3, Kim Lien, My Dinh, Tan Mai and Tay Mo showed that the air quality was mostly ‘poor’ and ‘bad’, and sometimes ‘dangerous’. There are five levels of air quality, with ‘dangerous’ being the worst.

On January 25, the PM 2.5 concentration measured in some places in Hanoi was up to 400. PM 2.5 is considered ‘death dust’. When it exceeds the hazardous level, people should to stay inside.

Quang said the emissions from vehicles, smoke from industrial zones, and dust from construction sites are the major reasons behind serious air pollution.

PM2.5 is dust suspended in air, capable of entering into lung, causing respiratory illnesses, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

“The measures taken by the municipal authorities, including the call for people to protect the environment and the release of red warning over air pollution have not brought the desired effects,” he said.

Quang went on to warn that if Hanoi cannot find reasonable solutions to the problem, the air pollution here would be as serious as Beijing.

Hoang Duong Tung, chair of the Vietnam Clean Air Network, said the air quality got serious on pre-Tet days as a result of the sharp increase in the number of vehicles.

Some scientists attributed this to heat reverse, the phenomenon which occurs only in winter which could cause air quality to worsen suddenly. However, most scientists agree that the high number of vehicles in circulation is a major reason.

Hanoi vows to cut number of private vehicles to ease pollution, affirming that 70 percent of the volume of exhaust gas emitted into the environment comes from transport vehicles.

On Tet days (February 4-9), when a high number of people left Hanoi for home villages to enjoy Tet holiday, the pollution abated. The head of the Hanoi Environment Protection Sub-department, Mai Trong Thai, confirmed that the amount of vehicles in traffic decreased significantly on Tet days, leading to a reduction in the concentration of pollutants in the environment.

According to a report on Vietnamnet

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