55,000 coal stoves plague Hanoians with toxic smog

By Phan Anh   March 17, 2018 | 08:20 pm PT
The data comes from a report issued by Hanoi’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

Smoke is burning from a reported 55,000 coal stoves in Hanoi, including 33,000 in the city center, according to the city's Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

What’s most worrying is how these coal stoves are concentrated inside some of Hanoi’s most populated districts, namely Hoan Kiem, Dong Da and Ba Dinh, local media said. The report also shows that the city consumes about 528 tons of coal every day.

In light of this revelation, authorities are planning to replace all coal stoves by 2019, said Le Tuan Dinh, deputy director of the department, as cited by Phu Nu Vietnam. The city will cut the number of coal stoves by 70 percent in 2018, and replace them entirely by 2019, he said.

Severe air pollution in Hanoi is not a new topic. The capital enjoyed little more than one month of clean air last year as pollution levels rose to match China's smog-prone capital, Beijing, according to preliminary findings by GreenID, a Vietnamese non-profit organization that works to promote sustainable development in Vietnam.

Air pollution in Hanoi is due to a number of factors, including construction work, an increase in car and motorcycle use, and agriculture burning by farmers, said Lars Blume, technical advisor at GreenID.

Exposure to high levels of air pollution, especially over the long term, can affect human respiratory and inflammatory systems, and can also lead to heart disease and cancer.

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