HA NOI — Ha Noi has begun to modernise old air-quality monitoring stations this year under a plan approved by the Ha Noi People's Committee.
The old system was believed to be complicated and show little effectiveness in monitoring air quality.
The replacement programme is scheduled to finish by 2020 with a total number of 360 modern stations instead of more than 1,250 old ones.
The two-phrase plan aims to improve data collection and analysis of changes to air-quality and meteorological elements, therefore giving solutions to reducing air pollution and protecting community health in the city.
There will be seven automatic air-quality monitoring stations, five more than are currently in use.
The committee has assigned the city's Natural Resources and Environment Department to direct the plan.
The move was taken after air quality in Ha Noi was shown to be worsening in a report on the city's environment situation, which was released by the department in late 2011.
According to the report, vehicle exhaust emissions including carbon dioxide, volatile organic compound (VOC) and nitrogen dioxide have been blamed for the air pollution in the capital.
In particular, VOC is believed to contain chemicals which cause long-term negative health impacts for humans.
The compounds in VOC are also found in solvents, cleaning chemicals, building materials and office equipment.
Hoang Duong Tung, director of the Viet Nam Environment Adminis-tration's Environmental Monitoring Centre, told the local media that dust levels in most areas of the city had exceeded safe levels in recent years.
Air pollution levels remained high at construction sites and the traffic intersections of Kim Lien, Giai Phong, Phung Hung and Nguyen Trai, he said.
The levels gradually rose with the growing number of vehicles and construction sites, he said.
Under the plan, the department will have to build and operate three air quality monitoring stations in areas where with high risks to air pollution during the first phrase, which is expected to finish in 2015.
This will ensure the management of the technical apparatus that will be understood and will allow the training of observers.
The second phrase is planned to launch for the period of 2016-20, where all air-quality monitoring stations will be operating effectively as part of the national environment monitoring system. — VNS