Alarming developments regarding air pollution in Hanoi

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Doctors are warning children and people with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases against going outside in Hanoi, where the air quality index (AQI) recorded at many points inner the city was constantly between 100 and 200 last week.

According to AirVisual, AQI measured at more than 20 locations were above 100 from September 14-16.

The PM2.5 fine dust readings in Hanoi has reached 111.3µg/m³ on September 17, 4.5 times higher than the national standard (25µg/m³) and is 11.1 times the annual average quantity set by WHO. It is estimated that every increment of 10µg/m³ in PM2.5 would increase the rate of hypertensive emergency patients by 8%.

Long exposure to fine dusts increases risks of cardiovascular diseases, chronic bronchitis, lung function reduction, and death by lung cancer and heart diseases, among others. PM2.5 in particular can speed up cirrhosis and increase risks of metabolic diseases and liver dysfunction. PM2.5 also causes insulin resistance, inflammation and increased diabetes complications.

The two main sources of air pollution in Hanoi are the dismantlement of construction sites and emissions from the large amount of vehicles, said Chairman of Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung.

Hanoi installed 11 air quality monitoring stations in 2018 and strives to install 95 more up to 2020. Additionally, the city is in the process of planting 1 million trees and strives to plant another 600,000 up to 2020.

There needs to be more severe punishments on facilities causing environmental pollution, which must be accompanied by results from proper monitoring equipment and regulations to ensure reasonable grounds for such sanctions, said Mrs. Bui Thi An, former Chairwoman of the Hanoi Chemistry Association, member of the 13th National Assembly. There must also be ways to deal with dump trucks spilling dirt on the street and timely provision of street cleaning vehicles, she added.

In the long run, it is necessary to increase the use of public transport and relocate handicraft villages in central Hanoi. The city is also pushing people to reduce the use of honeycomb coal to limit sources of air pollution.

Due to the influence of cold air combined with rainfall during the weekend, PM2.5 concentrations in Hanoi have decreased. The latest recorded AQI result was 50, according to Hanoi’s web portal on September 22.

By Anh Thu - Translated by Tan Nghia

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