HCMC air quality surveys suspended since June

By Ha An   December 16, 2020 | 10:45 pm PT
HCMC air quality surveys suspended since June
Engineers survey air quality at an intersection in Thu Duc District, HCMC. Photo by VnExpress/Ha An.
Air quality surveys have not been done in HCMC since June since its contracts with some private surveillance agencies have expired.

They are expected to resume in February, the Center for Natural Resources and Environment Monitoring at the HCMC Department of Environment and Natural Resources said on Wednesday.

They are currently done manually at several locations 10 days a month at 7:30-8:30 a.m. and 3-4 p.m.

But manual surveys are inefficient since results are only available after a week.

Until air quality surveys resume, the public should rely on air quality apps like AirVisual or PAM Air, the environment department said.

"HCMC is a major economic hub with production activities and traffic, and so its air quality cannot be as good as other locations," it said.

Meanwhile, the city has approved the setting up of its own environment quality monitoring network at a cost of VND500 billion ($21.6 million).

The modern automatic system will update data every five minutes, ensuring high accuracy, including on the air quality index (AQI), which is not possible with manual surveys.

The center is testing two automatic air quality monitoring stations in Districts 9 and Binh Tan, Cao Tung Son, its director, said in August.

Eight such stations would be built by 2022, and 20 by 2025, according to the center.

"The system would help the city comprehensively and accurately monitor air quality, especially as seasons change and fog appears, so that the public can be informed," Son said.

However, a bidding plan for the project is still pending the city government's approval.

The city has been surveying air quality since 1993. With over nine million cars and other vehicles and a lot of production, construction and traffic activity, it is no stranger to air pollution.

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