Vietnam threatened by cross-border air pollution

by P.V09 October 2015 Last updated at 12:46 PM

VTV.vn - In recent years, experts have raised alarm over cross-border air pollution, which is becoming an increasingly worrisome issue.

Most notably, a recent report provides clear evidence that Vietnam is likely being affected by air pollution in neighboring countries.

Based on field research and analyses of satellite images of 9 provinces and cities in northern Vietnam, a recent report by the Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology & Climate Change indicates that the northern region, especially areas bordering China, is being severely affected by air pollution from the southern and southwestern provinces of this neighboring country.

With regular northeast monsoon spells, the northern and central regions of Vietnam suffer from air pollution with a 40-to-50% concentration of pollutants in the atmosphere.

Experts say this phenomenon is quite serious, yet inevitable due to geographical positions and pressure for socio-economic development.

"After years of research, we see that the sulfur dioxide concentration in northern Vietnam reaches 40-to-50% in the winter. This is caused by the many thermal power plants in southeastern China. During the winter when the northeast monsoons come, polluted air is easily spread to northern Vietnam", said Assoc. Prof. - Dr. Duong Hong Son, Deputy Director, Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology & Climate Change.

Prior to this report, Vietnam’s 2013 national environmental report also raised concerns over air pollution from China. Meanwhile, increasingly severe air pollution from Indonesia has reached southern Vietnam in the last few years. The recent phenomenon of smoke covering Ho Chi Minh City is said to stem from forest fires in Indonesia.

Currently, the Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology & Climate Change is a member of the acid-accumulation monitoring network in Eastern Asia, which includes 14 countries. The institute is granted access to statistics of atmosphere quality of member countries. This cooperation is useful and should be further developed. Besides, there should be some common standards regarding pollution emissions, though this is not easy.

The report also stresses the need for upgrading air pollution monitoring devices and close cooperation in researching and controlling air pollution among Vietnam and neighboring countries. In the short term, Vietnam can develop its forested buffer areas to help absorb pollutants from the atmosphere.

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