Ha Noi air pollution ‘hazardous’

by 08 March 2016 Last updated at 09:00 AM

VTV.vn - Ha Noi air pollution is at hazardous levels, threatening the health of those with respiratory diseases and endangering public health in general, according to Air Quality Index (AQI) statistics.

The index is published on the website  and provides real time air quality and pollution monitoring of cities worldwide.

The pollution rate in Ha Noi is also measured by the United States (US) Embassy in Ha Noi and by the Viet Nam Centre for Environmental Monitoring under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

Last Tuesday and Wednesday, the pollution rate was measured at the US Embassy on Dong Da District’s Lang Ha Street and at the United Nations International School of Ha Noi in Tay Ho District. Measurements fluctuated between 114 to 388. A high score of 388 was documented at 9pm on Tuesday.

Particulate Matter last Tuesday and Wednesday was reportedly three times higher than national air quality standards and seven times higher than maximum exposure levels recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Those at risk, such as those with respiratory conditions,  may experience health problems when air pollution measures 101 to 200 points, or more. Emergency warnings are issued when readings hit 201 to 300 points or more. A high reading of 388 is considered very hazardous. Everyone, not only people with respiratory conditions, may experience serious health effects when pollution readings are this high. And everyone, including children, should limit outdoor exposure to pollution and outdoor exertion.

Statistics show that the pollution level in Ha Noi over the past few days may be as high as in Beijing, China.

But Hoang Duong Tung, deputy head of the Viet Nam Environment Administration, rejected the claim that Ha Noi is as polluted as Beijing. He said that this conclusion can not be proved using measurements taken at different times. Any comparison is more exact if air quality is measured at many air monitoring stations simultaneously.
AQI also fluctuates, rising to the highest levels when traffic volume increases. But pollution remains a major long-term problem for the city. Of greatest concern are fine particulate matter and ozone exceeding permitted levels.

According to experts, pollution in Ha Noi is caused by changing weather, construction, millions of motorbikes, and industrial pollution.

Improvements needed

Professor Pham Ngoc Dang says that the city needs pollution improvement in all sectors. Public transportation should be prioritised, road quality upgraded, traffic jams avoided, and fuel quality improved. Industrial parks must also install emissions treatment systems and encourage environmentally-friendly technology, according to Dang.

Expanding treed areas in the city would also be extremely valuable, he said. 


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