Deputy head of Hà Nội’s Natural Resources and Environment Department, Lê Tuấn Định.— Photo kinhtedothi.vn
Measurements of air pollution recently scared many Hà Nội people. The measurements were made by the Green Innovation and Development Centre (Green ID*), a Vietnamese non-profit organisation established under the Việt Nam Union of Science and Technology Associations. However, deputy head of Hà Nội’s Natural Resources and Environment Department, Lê Tuấn Định, said that results did not accurately reflect the city’s air quality . The Kinh Tế and Đô Thị (Economy and City) Newspaper talks with him the issue.
Recently, mass media reported that Hà Nội air was polluted five days a week. What do you think?
The data on air quality released by the green group referred to monitoring done on the roof of the United States Embassy in Hà Nội in Láng Hạ Street near Giảng Võ-Đê la Thành junction where the traffic is dense.
We discussed the issue with a US Embassy representative, knowing that the Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index (AQI) in the the US norm is higher than the standard set by the Việt Nam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
The data in the monitoring station does not accurately reflect the air quality of Hà Nội, This means the air quality in Hà Nội is not as bad as announced by the Green ID.
According to GreenID, the average concentration of PM2.5 (fine inhalable particles with diameters of generally 2.5 micrometres or smaller) is still higher than the international standard. Is this true?
In rush hour in some crowded streets and some areas where there are many construction sites, the concentration of PM2.5 and PM10 - inhalable particles with diameters of 10 micrometres or smaller - is over the limit.
The municipal People’s Committee has asked departments and agencies to implement measures to reduce the concentration of PM2.5 and PM10 in specific areas, including plans for dust and noise prevention, vehicle management, and traffic congestion reduction by the year 2020.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment installed an air pollution monitoring system in the city - and automatic monitoring stations in key areas. These are effective tools for forecasting and warning aboout air quality.
How is the city’s air status measured by the stations?
Mostly, the air quality reached our standards during all seasons of the year. The air quality in residential and industrial areas has gradually improved. However, the benzene index is in increasing due to increasing exhaust fumes.
Besides, the process of urbanisation means more contruction sites, an increase of population and more traffic.
Air quality in inner Hà Nội seem to degrade as the levels of dust concentrate.
According to annual monitoring results, the most serious problem is that the concentration of PM10 at some specific areas is 1.5 or 2 times higher the national standard.
Has the city taken any measures to deal with the problem?
In recent years, air pollution has received much attention by the municipal authority. The city co-operates with France’s AirParif Agency on a project on a technical assistance project for assessing the air environment in Hà Nội.
For the next three years, the city will complete a national-standard air monitoring system. It will also installl 70 automatic air observatory stations.
So far, 10 stations have been put into operation. Results of the monitoring are updated 24 hours a day on the Hà Nội’s People’s Committee’s website.
The city has also asked industrial zones and factories to install automatic air and waste-water monitoring equipment and transmit data to the Natural Resources and Environment Department for supervising and analysing.
The city will also implement other projects on air and water quality monitoring in key city areas to help with pollution forecasts.
Moreover, the department has co-operated with the Việt Nam Register Adminsitration to tightly control the quality of vehicles so as to supervise the fuel emission. – VNS
*GreenID works to promote sustainable development in Việt Nam and the larger Mekong region, and claims to be on its way to becoming a leading and credible organisation promoting sustainable energy.— VNS