Hanoi second most polluted city in Southeast Asia: survey

By Minh Nga   March 16, 2023 | 05:40 am PT
Hanoi has the second worst air quality in Southeast Asia after Pasarkemis in Indonesia, according to a 2022 annual survey by IQAir, a Swiss maker of air purifiers.

The Vietnamese capital city's air quality worsened to 40.1 micrograms of PM2.5 particles per cubic meter in 2022 from 36.2 in 2021, making it the 18th most polluted among 116 capital cities.

The country's most populous city Ho Chi Minh City also saw its PM2.5 concentrations rise 9.3% from the previous year to 21.2 μg/m3.

With an annual average PM2.5 concentration of 27.2 μg/m3, Vietnam was ranked the third most polluted country in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia (30.4) and Laos (27.6), and 30th in the world.

The report said power generation, vehicle emissions, industrial factories and open burning remain significant contributors of air pollution in Vietnam, where PM2.5 concentrations were worse during the dry season from November through April.

Long lines of vehicles on a street in Hanoi in April 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

Long lines of vehicles on a street in Hanoi in April 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

The Vietnamese government is addressing these sources of pollution.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has partnered with the United States Agency for International Development to launch the "Reducing Pollution" project, which will invest $11.3 million over a five-year period between 2021 and 2026 targeting environmental pollution with a focus on air pollution.

Of the 296 Southeast Asian cities included in the IQAir report, only eight satisfied the WHO PM2.5 guideline limit of 5 μg/m3, including three from Vietnam - Nam Sach, Kinh Mon and Cam Pha.

Vietnam had 7 cities on the list of the 15 least polluted cities of the region, with Nam Sach in the northern province of Hai Duong the region’s cleanest. Indonesia has six cities on the 15 least polluted list.

Thailand and Indonesia were the most represented on the list of the 15 most polluted cities in the region, seven and five.

Among other capitals in Southeast Asia, Jakarta had a PM2.5 level of 36.2 μg/m3, Vientiane 27.6, Bangkok 18, Kuala Lumpur 17.6, Metro Manila 14.6, Singapore 13.3 and Phnom Penh 8.3.

IQAir report measures lung-damaging airborne particles PM 2.5 at 7,323 cities across 131 countries, regions, and territories, and is said to have used data aggregated from over 30,000 regulatory air quality monitoring stations and low-cost air quality sensors.

Lahore is the most polluted city globally with a PM2.5 level of 97.4 μg/m3. Roanoke Rapids of North Carolina, U.S., is the cleanest city in the world with a 0.6 PM2.5 concentration, although Canberra is the cleanest capital city (2.8).

Chad is the most polluted country in the world, and Guam the cleanest, according to the survey.

go to top