HCMC to deploy quick response teams to combat noise pollution

By Son Hoa   May 19, 2018 | 11:55 pm PT
HCMC to deploy quick response teams to combat noise pollution
A loudspeaker is placed in front of a shop in District 1, HCMC. Photo by VnExpress/Son Hoa
Residents will soon be able to phone hotlines to complain about noisy neighbors.

After years of unresolved complaints, Ho Chi Minh City is going set up hotlines and quick response teams to combat the city’s growing noise pollution, said Nguyen Thi Thu, vice chair of the municipal People’s Committee recently.

It’s unclear when the hotline will be up and running. 

Vietnam’s biggest city is notorious for its noise, with bars, restaurants, clubs and ordinary households blasting music and karaoke at full volume day and night. 

Complaints to local authorities often fall on death ears or end up in verbal warnings, a measure seen as too lenient because it has failed to turn down the city’s volume.

Vietnam’s Environment Protection Law dictates that noises in residential areas cannot exceed 70dBA from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and 55dBA from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Individual offenders could be fined between VND1 million ($44) and VND160 million. Organizations could be fined double that amount for similar offences plus a suspension for three to 12 months.

Noise pollution has become a serious threat in Vietnam.

A study conducted by the Institute of Occupational Health and the Environment in July last year found that out of the 52 million people working in Vietnam, between 10 million to 15 million have to deal with excessive noise.

Noise levels on 12 major streets and junctions in Hanoi were measured at between 77.8 and 78.1 decibels during the day, according to the study. The average noise level at night also exceeded limits by 20-40 percent, it said.

In HCMC, eight out of 14 spots violated acceptable levels, according to measurements recorded in June, 2017.

The problem is even worse in industrial zones, officials said.

Doan Ngoc Hai, the director of the institute, said that noise pollution can have long-term impacts, such as loss of hearing. It can also lead to sleeping disorders and high blood pressure, while children can suffer cognitive impairment, he said.

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