Vietnam suffers around 10.8 – 13.2 billion USD worth of economic losses associated with ambient air pollution each year, equivalent to 4.45 – 5.64 percent of the country’s GDP, heard a discussion in Hanoi on January 14.
Hanoi is suffering bad air days.
The figure is calculated by a research project of the National University of Economics (NEU), according to Associate Professor Dinh Duc Truong, Director of the NEU’s faculty of environment, climate change and urban development.
He also cited another research project conducted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which claimed that some 71,000 deaths in Vietnam in 2018 were caused by environmental pollution, with around 50,000 deaths directed related to air pollution.
President of the Vietnam Clean Air Network Hoang Duong Tung said that emissions from vehicles are a major source of air pollution in urban areas (60 percent), adding Vietnam is the world’s fourth largest motorcycle market with 46 million vehicles, after China, India and Indonesia.
Coal-fired power plants, cement and steel production facilities, construction activities and the burning of stubble, are also responsible for a large proportion of urban air pollution, he added.
To cut pollution, Tung suggested limiting the use of personal vehicles and developing public transport infrastructure. He also laid stress on the need to complete a legal framework, enhance environmental monitoring activities, and publicise monitoring information for coal-fired, steel, cement and chemical plants.
Meanwhile, Truong underlined that comprehensive measures should be put in place to reduce activities that harm the environment.
He recommended applying carbon taxes and environmental fees, issuing green bonds and encouraging investment in the form of Public-Private partnership in environmental monitoring activities and clean energy.
Mitigating air pollution in Hanoi is a difficult task as pollutants are spread out in the air with no boundaries. Hanoi alone won’t be able to fulfill the task, scientists say.