Fine dust pollution worsening in Hanoi

By Vo Hai   April 12, 2024 | 08:00 pm PT
Fine dust pollution worsening in Hanoi
Aerial view of a smog-filled section of Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
The levels of fine particle PM2.5 in Hanoi have been increasing every year, according to data from air quality monitoring stations.

Kim Van Chinh from the Research Center for Environmental Monitoring and Modeling on Friday said Hanoi is polluted by particulate fine dusts like PM2.5 and PM10, as well as other pollutants like ozone and nitrogen dioxide, which can irritate respiratory systems.

The percentage of days with good air quality in 2021 was 9.6%, while the same percentage in 2022 was only 5%, Chinh said, citing data from air quality monitoring stations of the U.S. Embassy.

The Hanoi People's Committee also said in March that the yearly average PM2.5 levels at the capital within the 2018-2020 period were twice the national standard.

The percentage of days in 2019 with unhealthy air quality levels was 30%, the committee added.

On air pollutants, environment experts said there were five main sources: vehicles, industrial activities, domestic activities, biofuel burning and agricultural activities. Among them, transport is the greatest source of PM2.5 emissions, accounting for 50-70%.

Do Quang Huy, a representative from the Vietnam Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (VAMM), said outdated motorbikes were a source of air pollution, especially in major cities.

"The maintenance of motorbikes per manufacturers' recommendations has not been paid attention to by consumers, leading to decreased vehicle quality," Huy said, adding that the association would cooperate with Hanoi to deploy measures to reduce motorbike emissions.

VAMM has proposed to authorities to have higher emission standards for motorbikes, as well as helping with the recalling and recycling of motorbikes in accordance with environmental protection laws, which required the recalling and recycling of 0.5% of the number of motorbikes sold in the previous year.

Hanoi currently aims for its air quality to be at good and moderate levels for at least 75% of the year by 2030.

Luu Thi Thanh Chi, deputy head of the Hanoi Environment Protection Office under the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, said the city would complete mechanisms and policies for the management of air quality, as well as issuing measures to reduce emissions, such as relocating facilities with heavy pollution out of downtown areas and managing the act of straw burning.

So far, Hanoi has not comprehensively listed all sources of emissions, but an environmental report showed that the capital is facing an air pollution issue, mainly caused by PM2.5 levels, which affects community health and incurs economic damage.

Every year on average, Hanoi records over 1,000 hospitalization cases due to cardiovascular diseases and 3,000 cases due to respiratory problems, accounting for 1.2% and 2.4% of all hospitalizations, respectively.

Hanoi’s population is 9 million, with 40% living in urban areas. The capital has 17 industrial complexes, around 1,300 craft villages, over 7 million motorbikes and 600,000 cars.

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