return icon Vietnamnet.vn

Capital citizens in a fog over fight against air pollution

Late on Saturday, the Ministry of Health, for the first time, released a list of 14 recommendations for coping with air pollution.

{keywords}
Haze engulfed Hanoi on September 26. Photo taken on Thang Long Avenue (Illustrative image - File photo)

The action from the highest governmental organisation responsible for public health was taken more than a week after terrible air pollution hit Hanoi, and staying indoors was named as the number one solution.

The lengthy wait for authorities to speak up left Hanoians in limbo and some took steps to protect themselves, while others just tried to get used to the filthy sky.

Quynh Nhu in Dong Da District has not allowed her two-year-old daughter to play outside ever since.

“Some people think I have exaggerated the situation as I have kept my child indoors for days,” she said. “She is more ‘disadvantaged’ than her friends whose parents let them out every afternoon in our apartment playground.”

Nhu’s family lives near a large construction site where every leaf is covered with a thin layer of dust, though many local children still play outside.

“Air pollution is not always visible, meanwhile, its impacts are lifelong. For some people, Hanoi’s situation is just getting worse. Others may get familiar with it, shaking off all precautions and living on like nothing has happened,” said Nhu.

Not every Hanoi citizen understands what air pollution is and even fewer know how it affects their health.

Authorities’ slow response, therefore, gave room for doubts to arise.

In October, air-quality tracker AirVisual had to remove its app from Vietnam’s Google Play and App Store after receiving hundreds of one-star reviews and negative comments from Vietnamese users for ranking Hanoi the most air polluted city in the world.

The backlash was sparked by the comments of a Vietnamese chemistry teacher with a large inline following, who claimed without evidence that AirVisual manipulated its data to sell air purifiers made by its mother company IQAir, and called for a boycott of the app as the ranking would “harm Vietnam’s tourism”. The teacher, facing widespread criticism, later apologised to AirVisual’s developer group.

In January, all schools in Bangkok were forced to close in response to dangerous levels of air pollution.

Hanoi, despite suffering severe air pollution several times a year, has seen no similar reaction.

“Due to the lack of tracking stations, we do not have comprehensive information of Hanoi’s air quality,” Le Van Thanh, deputy minister of labour, invalids and social affairs told Việt Nam News.

“We are working closely with Vietnam Environment Administration to set up more stations to give out prompt warnings for people, especially children, to protect their health,” he said without mentioning the plan’s deadline.

“The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has chorused ‘staying indoors’ for so long,” Vu Thi Kim Tuyen, an expert of the Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment, told the Vietnam News Agency.

“Now is the time for them to deliver a detailed plan to respond to air pollution and reduce its impacts as the concentration of fine dust particles (PM2.5) in the city's air has exceeded unhealthy levels. Warnings are no longer enough,” she added.

Hanoi authorities have pointed out 12 air pollution causes, including crop fires, construction, thermal power plants and traffic emission, and promised to come up with solutions to improve the city’s environment.

“Better late than never,” Hanoian Anh Thu in Hai Ba Trung District said, adding that “the situation cannot be improved overnight. In that case, responsible agencies please speak up to tell citizens what they should do in response to air pollution."

“Staying silent is no good as it puts people in a matrix of information to discover protective measures and leaves them unaware of how their lifestyle can worsen the city’s air,” said Thu.
“Solutions can come from both the government and citizens, at least if they understand what is going on.”

Nhat Dang, a consultant who regularly travels to Hanoi, thinks his nose is more dependable than any air quality tracking app.

“Many experts warn about the inaccuracy of those tools. Local authorities, on the other hand, seem reluctant to give out instructions so I decided to protect myself by wearing a face mask with fine dust filters after landing to the capital,” he said when leaving Noi Bai Airport. VNS

Khoa Thu

Solutions needed as Hanoi chokes under smog

Solutions needed as Hanoi chokes under smog

Over the last few days, the air quality in Hanoi has hit hazardous levels. The smog continues to blanket the capital, with AQI indicators soaring past safe levels and seeming to stay there.

Hanoi’s declining air quality blamed on change of seasons

Hanoi’s declining air quality blamed on change of seasons

The capital of Hanoi was named as the most polluted city in the world on September 26, with the southern largest economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City not far behind.  

MORE NEWS

Some big companies made profits in 2022, but others incurred losses

While Duc Giang Chemicals and Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical have reported big profits for Q4 and the year 2022, Vietnam Airlines and leading steel manufacturer Hoa Phat saw big losses for the year.

Vietnamese couple help German bicyclist in distress

Trung and Nhung, a Vietnamese couple, on the way to travel across Vietnam on Tet holiday, saw a foreigner who was facing troubles because of strong winds in Ninh Thuan.

Vietnam develops green agriculture to increase exports to EU

Vietnam is paying attention to mobilising resources to invest in developing green agriculture with an aim to raising the market share of its agricultural exports to the European Union.

Vietnamese team comes first at Southeast Asian Fencing Championship

Vietnam secured the first position at the 2023 Southeast Asian Fencing Championship which has taken place recently in Malaysia.

2023 - Time for Edtech to thrive in Vietnam

Experts are positive about the development of Vietnam’s education technology (Edtech) market in 2023 if local Edtech companies can overcome post-pandemic challenges.

UK imports from Vietnam in 2022 put at over US$6 billion

United Kingdom (UK) imports from Vietnam amounted to US$6.06 billion last year, rising by 5.2% over 2021, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

Five more registration officials in Hanoi prosecuted for soliciting bribes

Police of Hanoi’s Thuong Tin District has started legal proceedings against five officials at 2915D Registration Centre for taking bribes.

Thai Thi Lien, Vietnam's matriarch pianist and pedagogue, passes away

Thai Thi Lien, one of the founders of Vietnam's National Academy of Music, passed away on Tuesday peacefully at her home at the age of 106, her son Tran Thanh Binh said.

VN striker Tien Linh vies for Asia’s Best Footballer Award 2022

Vietnamese striker Nguyen Tien Linh has been listed among the 25 nominees for the Best Footballer in Asia 2022 award organized by Titan Sports of China.

Visa policy change needed to further attract foreign visitors: tourism authority

A key for Vietnam to attract more foreign tourists at this time is to change its visa policy, said Chris Farewell, a member of the Tourism Advisory Board (TAB).

Da Nang promotes food into unique tourism product

Not only famous for its beautiful natural landscapes, bridges and diverse cultural heritage as well as hospitality of the locals, the central coastal city of Da Nang boasts rich food known to world tourists for its unique taste.

Vietnamese films earn big profits during Tet

Nha Ba Nu (The House of No Man) has been the highest-grossing Vietnamese film during the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.

PM to hold dialogue with young people in March

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh will hold a dialogue with young people in Hanoi on March 26, the Government Office has announced.

Internet slows as four out of five submarine cables suffer disruptions

Vietnamese internet service providers have confirmed that four out of five submarine internet cables that connect the country to the world are experiencing issues, seriously affecting performance and reliability.

Politburo Resolution 31 gives momentum to HCM City to 'take off'

Experts say that policies from the Politburo’s Resolution 31 will give momentum to HCM City to grow strongly, but also pose big challenges for the city.
back_to_top