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Environment official admits Hanoi air quality degrading

By Vo Hai   June 26, 2016 | 01:56 am PT
The quality of air in Hanoi is worsening due to the rising population and number of vehicles, according to Nguyen Trong Dong, director of the capital’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

“The city’s air quality has shown some signs of degrading, particularly in the city center, major transport links and ongoing construction sites. The levels of dust pollution in some places have also surpassed the permitted levels,” Dong told a workshop on ways to enhance Hanoi's environmental monitoringy on Sunday.

The concentration of benzene across Hanoi has increased year by year because of the rising consumption of fossil fuels from vehicles, Dong said. He added that urbanization, which has resulted in increased construction activities, migration to the city and higher number of vehicles, has caused air pollution, especially dust and noise.

German experts who attended the workshop said dust accounts for the majority of pollution in Hanoi. Initial analysis has shown that it is because of the rise in the number of manufacturing plants, transport vehicles and machines that discharge air into the atmosphere.

“The number of motorbikes in Vietnam in general and in Hanoi in particular has risen too quickly,” a report from the German experts said.

Rising number of motorbikes is one of the main reasons leading to the pollution of air in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Ba Do

The rising number of motorbikes is one of the main reasons for the poor air quality in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Ba Do

Nguyen Duc Chung, chairman of Hanoi's People’s Committee, said the city is implementing various measures to improve its air quality including planting a million new trees and building more lakes. The municipal government will announce a roadmap for reducing personal vehicles in the city center and banning the use of coal for cooking.

German experts are expected to present their research results and proposals for improving Hanoi’s environmental monitoring in another workshop scheduled for next month.

Vietnam plans to publicize information about air quality in 19 cities, including Hanoi, across the country in 2017, according to the National Action Plan for Air Quality Management for 2020 with a vision to 2030 released earlier this month.

An air quality reading in March this year by the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi showed a "hazardous" air quality index at one point during the day, raising concerns among local residents.

Related news:

> Air pollution in Hanoi reaches alarming levels

> Vietnam to make public air quality information in major cities next year

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