|Hà Nội was severely polluted in almost the entire first quarter of 2018.— VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Hà Nội witnessed severe air pollution exceeding air quality guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on nine out of every 10 days in the first three months of 2018.
This was revealed in the latest report of Hà Nội-based Green Innovation and Development Centre (GreenID) in mid-May.
Based on the report, Hà Nội had 91 per cent days of excessive PM2.5 levels in the first three months of the year.
PM, or particulate matter, is a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. PM2.5 is some 1/30th in thickness of a human hair. It can easily pass through the lungs and get absorbed into the bloodstream, causing adverse health effects.
The report analyses air quality data recorded by the US Embassy’s monitoring station and compares air quality of 2018 with the past two years. It shows that air quality in Hà Nội has deteriorated, with 80 per cent of the recording hours experiencing an “unhealthy” level compared to 64 per cent in 2017.
However, GreenID noted that the conclusion was only based on results of the monitoring station at the US Embassy without referring to 12 other monitoring stations in the city.
Nguyễn Thị Hằng, GreenID coordinator of clean water and air, stressed upon the significance of the report in warning about Hà Nội’s air quality.
“The information was released for people to protect themselves and their families against the rising pollution levels,” she said.
Meanwhile, a survey conducted by the organisation on some 1,000 people reveals that transportation, industry and energy production are the top three agents blamed for causing air pollution in cities.
Nguỵ Thị Khanh, GreenID’s director, said air pollution could not be eased easily.
“Air pollution is unlikely to improve as Việt Nam continues to build some 40 coal power plants by 2030,” she said, proposing a solution that demands more administrative involvements in air quality improvement.
“GreenID is calling upon the government to increase monitoring and strengthening of air pollution control by issuing a new clean air act, aiming to raise emissions standards for coal power plants and traffic,” she added.
Earlier this month, WHO released the updated database according to which some seven million people in the world die annually due to exposure to fine particles in polluted air.
While all regions in the world suffer from air pollution, low-income cities are the most vulnerable.
The highest ambient air pollution levels are in the Eastern Mediterranean Region and in Southeast Asia, including Việt Nam, with annual mean levels often exceeding the WHO PM2.5 limit of 10μg/m3 per year by more than five times. — VNS