Smoggy Saigon raises health concerns

By Duy Tran   October 11, 2016 | 11:36 pm PT
Smoggy Saigon raises health concerns
Buildings in Ho Chi Minh City are covered in thick smog on Wednesday morning. Photo by VnExpress/Duy Tran
Residents have been advised to wear face masks to avoid respiratory diseases.

Ho Chi Minh City was covered in thick smog on Tuesday, leading experts to advise people to take extra protection against dust and other toxic substances that tend to linger in cool air.

Fog smothered districts 1, 4 and 7, where many drivers complained of poor visibility until noon.

“There’s a chill in the air and it feels like Da Lat,” a local woman said, referring to the Central Highlands town where it is almost always cool and foggy.

But after various media reports of soaring pollution in the city, she is worried that what looks romantic is a health risk, and she is right to be.

Le Thi Xuan Lan, a local meteorologist, said the conditions in the city had resulted from high humidity after many days of heavy rain.

“It is bad for the health because it is full of smoke, dust and other toxic gases,” Lan said.

She said people should wear face masks on the street to prevent respiratory diseases.

Smog was rarely seen in Ho Chi Minh City ten years ago, but the same situation happened around this time last year and lasted for almost a week. Experts from the Southern Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting Center suggested that forest fires in Indonesia were to blame for the 2015 haze.

The Real-Time Air Quality Index on, using data from the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City, on Wednesday morning ranked the city’s air as “unhealthy to sensitive groups”. The air quality has improved to "moderate" this afternoon.

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