Saigon is hot because concrete takes over trees

April 28, 2024 | 07:19 pm PT
Saigon is hot because concrete takes over trees
People shield themselves from the scorching sun when driving on a HCMC street, April 9, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/QuynhTran
Widespread concrete construction, lack of trees, and low humidity are the primary culprits behind the prolonged hot weather in Ho Chi Minh City, readers said.

Reader Maestro explained that this is why Saigon is experiencing its longest heat wave in nearly 30 years. He posed several questions to illustrate the situation: "Compared to 1998, how many trees does Ho Chi Minh City have left now? Meanwhile, how many more concrete roads have been constructed? How many fields, gardens, and water canals have disappeared, and how many more have been added? How many plots of land remain barren due to unfinished projects? How many more people and vehicles have moved to the city?"

Minh Tri, another reader, weighed in on the causes: "The city has an excess of concrete. During the day, concrete stores heat, making it feel hot when touched, and at night, it releases this heat. A visit to the countryside or places abundant with trees will feel significantly cooler because green trees do not store heat, thus they do not warm the surrounding environment at night."

Emphasizing the need for more greenery, Huy Ly remarked, "Ho Chi Minh City desperately needs more trees because they play a crucial role in generating sufficient humidity to catalyze rain. Without adequate humidity, rain is unlikely, despite the presence of clouds. Many people resort to spraying water on streets to artificially increase humidity, but this is merely a temporary fix."

Reflecting on lessons from abroad, Quoc Minh Truong cited Singapore's approach: "A prime example is Singapore. Despite their extensive development, they continue to plant large trees and mandate gardens for each construction project. Greenery is key to reducing heat. No developed city overlooks such initiatives, except in extremely harsh climates like the Middle East. Essentially, if we want to mitigate heat effectively, we must commit to extensive tree planting and not rely solely on sporadic rain from occasional clouds."

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