Environment agency proposes for children to skip school on days of heavy air pollution

By Le Nga   January 18, 2024 | 06:43 am PT
Environment agency proposes for children to skip school on days of heavy air pollution
A child wears a face mask. Illustration photo by Freepik
Kindergarteners and primary school students may stay home if air quality indexes prove to be hazardous for three days straight, the Health Environment Management Agency proposed.

The proposal was made amid poor air quality levels in certain localities which have negatively impacted people's health. Air quality in Hanoi was often at hazardous levels last week, increasing the risk of respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, strokes and cancer. Making contact with air pollutants may also result in skin damage, as well as impacts to one’s neurological and immune systems, according to health experts.

Air quality levels are measured by the Air Quality Index, with values between 0-50 being "good", 51-100 being "average", 101-150 being "unhealthy", 151-200 being "poor", 201-300 being "very poor" and 301-500 being "hazardous", according to the Agency under the Ministry of Health.

The ministry has recommended nurseries, kindergartens and primary schools to consider letting kids off school if air quality indexes are at hazardous levels for three days straight. If they have to go to school, kids will need to avoid outdoor activities, or adjust their schedules, it said.

People should also avoid outdoor activities and to wait until AQI improves, it said, adding that they should also close down doors and windows to avoid making contact with pollutants.

Vulnerable groups, including children, pregnant women, elderly people and those with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, should monitor their health on days of heavy air pollution. If symptoms like difficulty breathing, coughing or fever show up, they should come to medical facilities for a check-up, the ministry said.

Experts say air pollution has persisted for years in Vietnam, especially in major cities like Hanoi. One of the contributing factors is insufficient management of emission sources, including vehicles, construction sites and industrial facilities.

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