Respiratory diseases alert in HCMC as fine dust exceeds safety limits

By My Y   December 12, 2022 | 09:10 pm PT
Respiratory diseases alert in HCMC as fine dust exceeds safety limits
People drive motorbikes along trucks in District 7, HCMC, July 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Air monitoring indicates Ho Chi Minh City's fine dust volume has exceeded safety thresholds and threatens to cause respiratory ailments.

Monitoring by the city Department of Natural Resources and Environment found fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exceeding Vietnam's prescribed safety limit of 50 µg/m3 for 24 hours and 25 µg/m3 over a year.

The World Health Organization limits are 25 and 10.

The highest measured PM2.5 volume reached 52 in September, 59 in October and 66 last month.

PM2.5 particles are discharged by vehicles, industries and natural sources like dust, and can easily pass through lung tissues and be absorbed into the bloodstream, causing adverse health effects.

Nguyen Hieu Hoa, an official at the department, said: "Most places where PM2.5 has exceeded the limit are high-density traffic circles and areas where large trucks usually pass."

He said at the end of the year there is usually a rise in traffic volume to serve the increasing market and travel demands.

From early November to late December the city usually has fog at dawn, and this in combination with the fine dust would cause smog that could be seen with bare eyes, he said.

Epidemiologist Truong Huu Khanh said fine dust can intrude deep into people's lungs and cause asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and allergic rhinitis.

In some cases, it could attack the alveoli and enter the circulatory system, he said.

It usually occurs early in the morning and so "those who go to school or work should wear masks to protect the respiratory system."

He also suggested improving resistance by exercising and consuming protein and vitamins, especially vitamin C.

He warned against self-medicating antibiotics in case of respiratory disease symptoms.

WHO said in a report in April that 13 million people die every year of environmental causes globally, including more than seven million due to pollution.

It had said in 2018 that more than 60,000 deaths annually are linked to air pollution in Vietnam.

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