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.
Lauri Myllyvirta from Greenpeace stressed that it is necessary to apply measures to mitigate air pollution not only in Hanoi, but in neighboring areas as well, because Hanoi bears the influence from emission sources in the areas.
Hanoi is located in a valley, an area between mountains. The pollution agents are from household activities, transport and coal-fired power plants, and it is necessary to deal with the emission sources in the entire region, not only in Hanoi.
He went on to say that it would be better not to spend time arguung on which emission sources it is more important to deal with. In principle, it is necessary to clear all sources of pollution.
|Burning fuel at households is a source of pollution. Transport and coal-fired power also contribute to pollution. If only one source of pollution is cleared and the other sources still become more serious, the situation won’t improve.|
Burning fuel at households is a source of pollution. Transport and coal-fired power also contribute to pollution. If only one source of pollution is cleared and the other sources still become more serious, the situation won’t improve.
Myllyvirta said research all affirmed the influence of coal-fired thermopower plants in the east of Hanoi, explaining that thermopower is a big consumer of coal.
In recent years, the coal demand for electricity generation increased from 26.25 million tons in 2015 to 44.37 million tons in 2018 (up by 69 percent). In 2019, the coal demand was 54.3 million, according to the latest report of the Power and Renewable Energy Agency, an arm of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT).
The Vietnam Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) reported that in 2017, it sold 35.6 million tons, of which 23.6 million tons were reserved for power plants (66 percent). In the first 11 months of 2018, the volume of coal sold was 37.69 million tons, including 26.9 million tons (71 percent) for thermopower plants.
However, coal-fired thermal power is not the only source that contributes to the air pollution in Hanoi.
A study on air quality in Hanoi and the northern region of Vietnam by IIASA and VAST found that transport makes up 25 percent of PM2.5 concentration in Hanoi, while thermal power and big industry 20 percent, cooking and daily activities using biomass 15 percent, ammonia emission in livestock industry and fertilizer use 15 percent, and the burning of agricultural by-products 7 percent.
The study also found that the contribution frim coal-fired thermal power to the PM2.5 pollution in Hanoi will increase rapidly in the future, from below 10 percent in 2015 to 20 percent by 2030.
The emission sources outside Hanoi make up two-thirds of PM2.5 fine dust concentrations in Hanoi, according to a survey released in October 2018 on quantifying pollution sources.
People have been advised to restrict outdoors exercise, close windows and doors, and wear protective masks to protect themselves from PM2.5 fine dust.