Honeycomb charcoal stoves are being used widely in Hà Nội's inner areas. Photo news.zing.vn
HÀ NỘI – Hanoians still use more than 23,000 honeycomb charcoal stoves every day, Hà Nội’s Sub-department of Environmental Protection said.
Speaking about plans to eliminate the use of honeycomb charcoal stoves by 2021, a representative from the sub-department told online newspaper news.zing.vn that as of the end of last month, the number of stoves has decreased by 58 per cent compared to 2017.
However, more than 23,000 stoves are still used each day.
In 2017, the total number of stoves was 55,000. Most are used in the inner city – up to 63 per cent – while the rest are located in suburban districts.
Hoàng Dương Tùng, former deputy director of the Vietnam Environment Administration and President of Vietnam Clean Air Network said the massive use of honeycomb charcoal stoves was a key cause of bad air quality in urban areas.
He said the inner city was crowded, while the use of honeycomb charcoal stoves often occurred in densely populated areas, such as apartment buildings.
Emissions from honeycomb charcoal stoves, together with exhaust fumes and construction dust, worsened the air quality.
Tùng said smoke from kitchens also affected the health of those nearby because it contained toxic fumes. The city has recorded several deaths due to the smoke from this type of stove.
However, he said, honeycomb charcoal stoves were not the main cause of air pollution in the city.
Three years ago, the number of stoves in the city was more than 60,000. The number has fallen to 23,000, but air quality has not improved.
Tùng said cutting two-thirds of the stoves in recent years was a great success, but it was not enough.
To improve air quality, it was necessary to have drastic solutions and implement them consistently, he said.
Hà Nội plans to completely eradicate the use of honeycomb charcoal by 2021 as part of its efforts to curb worsening air pollution.
According to a directive signed by Chairman of Hà Nội People’s Committee Nguyễn Đức Chung, the city will provide support for citizens to stop the use of honeycomb briquette stoves by the end of 2020, and any further usage of the cheap but polluting fuel will be subject to penalties a year later.
Honeycomb briquettes, also known as beehive briquettes, get their name from the shape which looks like a honeycomb. It is a very common charcoal fuel in domestic use in Việt Nam, though prevalence in modern cities has decreased sharply over the decades. — VNS