Motorbikes in HCM City. The volume of vehicle emissions is expected to increase to more than 44 million tonnes by 2030 if the city does not implement solutions to reduce air pollution. — VNS Photo Gia Lộc
HCM CITY — HCM City is carrying out multiple methods and programmes to reduce air pollution and CO2 emissions in its aim to create a "clean, green and beautiful" city.
Nguyễn Thị Thanh Mỹ, deputy director of the city Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said that environmental programmes implemented since 2016 aim to reduce 70 per cent of the total volume of emissions by transport.
The department has called on the public to use public transport instead of individual vehicles and to use E5 bio-fuel, a mix of RON 92 (95 per cent) and bio-fuel ethanol (5 per cent), which has replaced RON 92 and co-exists with A95.
Bùi Hòa An, deputy director of the city Department of Transport, said the department has worked with many transport enterprises to replace old polluting buses and put 1,680 new buses into use on 52 streets.
Of the new buses, 500 use compressed natural gas (CNG) that is more environmentally friendly. The number of buses with CNG accounts for 20 per cent of the city’s total buses of 2,595. They do not emit dust and smoke and save 30 per cent to 40 per cent of fuel.
The Department of Transport is continuing to build more transport infrastructure, including the metro line No 1, an underground tunnel at An Sương Intersection, and the Thủ Thiêm Bridge 2, as well as upgrades of Chữ Y and Kênh Tẻ bridges to reduce traffic congestion and emissions.
In May, the department worked with the Việt Nam Automobile Manufacturers Association and the transport ministry's Institute of Transport Science and Technology to set up eight sites to test free of charge emissions from people's motorbikes.
An said that testing emissions was needed because many people did not keep their older motorbikes maintained, leading to double the volume of emissions compared to new motorbikes.
The Department of Natural Resources and Environment has installed two automatic air monitoring stations equipped with modern devices worth VNĐ495 billion (US$21 million) to replace the manual air monitoring systems, which took more time to analyze samples and did not update indexes and figures for the public.
The two stations are located at Sài Gòn Hi-tech Park in the eastern part of the city and Bình Tân Educational Sup-department in the city’s western area. These systems provides data for a five minute period, and are expected to help control air pollution, said Mỹ of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
The department plans to install 16 more air monitoring stations at streets, residential areas and industrial parks by 2030. The data will be used to issue warnings and make proper plans to resolve problems related to air pollution.
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Reports from environmental monitoring stations at Hàng Xanh Interchange, Điện Biên Phủ Street, and An Sương Intersection show that emissions have fallen by 80 per cent of the targeted plan, including 40 per cent for Co2, nearly 30 per cent for hydrocarbon, and nearly 90 per cent for NOx. However, total emissions from vehicles is still high compared to figures in 2016.
An of the transport department said the department will continue increasing the number of buses with CNG and plan transport infrastructure toward lower carbon and greenhouse emissions.
According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the city is one of the localities with largest greenhouse emissions in the country, with 38.5 million of tonnes of CO2, accounting for nearly 16 per cent of the country’s total emissions. Of ths number, emissions from vehicles account for 45 per cent.
In June, HCM City had about 8.5 million vehicles, including 7.8 million motorbikes. The number of motorbikes is expected to increase to 9 million by the end of this year, releasing nearly 17 million tonnes of carbon, hydrocarbon and NOx. The volume is expected to increase to more than 44 million tonnes by 2030 if the city does not implement solutions to reduce emissions.
According to the HCM City Respiratory Society, vehicle emissions contain substances that cause acute respiratory diseases and blood conditions, and are especially harmful to chikdren and the elderly. NOx exists in the air for a long time, leading to acid rain, which damages plants and land. — VNS