During the social distancing measures imposed, the air quality in many central and southern localities showing signs of improvement, but several northern provinces saw elevated levels of air pollution on September 3, that could seriously impact human health, according to local air tracking stations.
Air pollution leads people to be exposed to fine particles in polluted air that penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system, causing diseases including stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and respiratory infections.
Monitoring app AirVisual of IQAir, a Swiss air-quality technology and monitoring company, recorded nine red points at around 8 a.m. this morning in Hanoi capital, Hung Yen, and Lang Son.
“This means that the overall air quality is beginning to negatively affect normal people’s health and badly impact the health of sensitive groups”, said the environment expert.
The main areas of Hanoi that suffered from high air pollution levels included To Ngoc Van street in Tay Ho district and Gia Thuong street in Long Bien district.
Meanwhile, independent air quality tracker PAMAir reported that the AQI at several air monitoring stations located throughout Hanoi and neighbouring areas was at orange, indicating that the overall quality of air was at a harmful level for human health.
Monitoring app VN Air produced by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment showed that four points in Hanoi and Bac Ninh province remained at average levels.
Environment experts have therefore advised people to refrain from any outdoor activities, close windows, and use facemasks when going outside amid periods of low-quality air, along with the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. VOV reported.
Vietnam has been struggling with alarming air pollution. Its two biggest cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, are now among the top 15 polluted cities in Southeast Asia.
Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is the most concerning air pollutant in Vietnam. In 2019, Hanoi had only eight days with PM2.5 lower than the national standard of 50 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3). The air quality in Ho Chi Minh City was not much better, with only 36 days below the standard. For the remaining days of the year, over ten million people in these cities were exposed to heavily polluted air.
Finer particles are particularly harmful to human health as they can penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system, causing diseases including stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and respiratory infections. Up to 60,000 deaths in Vietnam in 2016 were related to air pollution. On average, air quality being below the World Health Organization’s standard reduces life expectancy by one year and costs the country about 5 per cent of GDP per year.
Among the main causes of this pollution is transportation. Vietnam now has 3.6 million automobiles and 58 million motorbikes, mostly concentrated in big cities. Many of them are old vehicles, with limited emission control technology. They cause daily traffic jams and emit a large amount of air pollutants. There are many old buses and motorbikes with visibly black exhaust smoke in the country.