Motorcyclists wear face masks and eyeglasses when traveling on a street. The quality of air in HCMC is worsening due to emissions from the rising number of vehicles on the roads as the Lunar New Year holiday nears - PHOTO: TNO



The air quality index (AQI) in HCMC reached extremely unhealthy levels at 8 a.m. today, January 16, according to air quality monitoring app AirVisual.

Most air quality measurements taken around the city showed red-warning levels, indicating extremely unhealthy levels of air pollution.

Two stations in Xuan Thoi Dong 2 Hamlet in Hoc Mon District and in Long Phuoc Ward, District 9, had the worst readings at 282 and 201, respectively. The AQI at Xuan Thoi Dong 2 Hamlet neared the brown level, the highest hazard level, posing a serious health risk.

Given these measurements, HCMC ranked ninth among the most polluted cities in the world, while Hanoi City came in 29th, with an AQI recorded at 111 on average.

According to a survey by the Air Pollution Research Center, the main causes of air pollution in HCMC include gas emissions from transport activities, accounting for 50%, and exhaust from households, restaurants, eateries and construction sites, representing 30%. The other culprits include industrial parks, hospitals and hotels.

As for transport activities, motorbikes are considered a major source of air pollution. As of August 18 last year, the city had over 7.9 million vehicles, including 734,800 automobiles and some 7.2 million motorcycles.

Motorbikes released into the air 90% of the carbon monoxide in the atmosphere, 29% of the oxides of nitrogen and 37% of the coarse dust particles.

Some experts noted that during the weeks around Tet, the number of vehicles on roads rises strongly, causing traffic jams on multiple routes. Apart from this, the spike in the volume of fine dust particles, coupled with smog at daybreak, has worsened HCMC’s air quality. SGT