Hanoi’s air quality has been at an acceptable
level less than two days a week, according to a newly released document.
The data was presented in a report on air quality in Vietnam in the first half
of this year. It was compiled and published by the Green Innovation and
Development Centre (GreenID), a Hanoi-based NGO, last week.
They compared air quality parameters in the 2017 six first months and in the
same period of 2016.
Based on the report, from January to June, Hanoi suffered 139 days of excessive
PM2.5 level, according to the international standards.
PM, or particulate matter, is the term for a mixture of solid particles and
liquid droplets found in the air. PM2.5 particulates are about one thirtieth as
thick as the width of a human hair. They can easily pass through lung tissue
and absorbed into the bloodstream, causing adverse health effects.
The data showed no relation between the concentration of pollutants and peak
traffic hours. This means air quality has been affected by different pollution
sources, especially energy industry.
Nguyen Thi Anh Thu, GreenID’s environment expert, said that though the air
quality was being improved, millions of Hanoi people had rarely had a breath of
The National Technical Regulation on Ambient Air Quality issued by the Ministry
of Natural Resources and Environment in 2013 limits the values of PM 10 and PM
2.5 concentrations in both short-term (24 hours) and long-term (one day)
exposures. However, this standard is still significantly lower than those used
by WHO and the EU.
Vietnam spends about 780 million USD annually on public health costs caused by
Children are the most vulnerable. According to UNICEF, air pollution kills
600,000 children under five years old a year in the world and causes serious
Exhaust gas from thermal power plants contains many pollutants, especially SO2,
CO, NOx and dust which can spread out to urban areas. If all coal-fired power
plants in Vietnam were built in accordance with the VII power plan with an
increasing capacity of around 40,000 MW by 2030, this would be a major threat
to current air quality.
“Many countries including China and the Republic of Korea are closing thermal
power plants because of their consequences on human health. It’s time for us to
consider the developmental path in order not to sacrifice our children’s living
environment and fresh air. By using recycled energy, we can balance goals of
economic development, environmental protection and community health,” said Nguy
Thị Khanh, Director of GreenID.-VNA