Jan 21, 2021 / 09:29

Vietnam must control and forecast air quality by 2025: PM directive

The Hanoitimes - With air quality in major cities in Vietnam worsening over the years, now is the time to actively implement the plan and take bolder actions.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) must improve its capacity to control, warn and forecast air quality across the country by 2025, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has said in a directive.

 Citizens of Hanoi, HCMC and other big cities in Vietnam are suffocated by heavily polluted air in the streets. Photo: Pham Hung.
The MONRE will focus on reviewing and completing the system of national regulations and standards on environment applicable to industrial emissions and emissions from road motor vehicles in Vietnam.

The ministry has to take lead in formulating, issuing criteria and certifying eco-labels for environmentally-friendly transportation vehicles and services.

The MONRE has been instructed to create national standards for vehicle emissions and suggest how they might be applied, as well as a certification system to determine whether a vehicle is environmentally-friendly.

Time to take bolder actions for clean air and people’s health

Citizens of Hanoi, HCMC and other big cities in Vietnam had been suffocated by heavily polluted air in the streets.

Excessive ozone in the air can have a marked effect on human health, causing breathing problems, triggering asthma, reducing lung function and leading to lung diseases.

In Vietnam, more than 60,000 deaths from heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were linked to air pollution, seen as a silent killer.

 Excessive ozone in the air can have a marked effect on human health. Photo: Trung Kien
With air quality in major cities in Vietnam worsening over the years, now is the time to actively implement the plan and take bolder actions, the government directive stated.

The government should strengthen its air quality monitoring system and share the data with the public, while monitoring stations should be installed and put into operation, said the directive.

Many people nowadays use smart phone applications to monitor air quality. As such, the government may consider having official air quality monitoring data available through a smart phone application.

In order to protect people’s health, the government needs to enforce emergency measures to minimize the emissions during the period of air pollution level far exceeding the WHO guidelines, according to the directive.

It also asked to thoroughly identify sources of air pollution and a long-term plan to ensure clean air. Most sources of outdoor air pollution are well beyond the control of individuals and demand concerted action by local, national and international policymakers.

The MONRE is responsible for improving regulations and laws on environmental protection. The ministry should also promulgate technological norms about exhaust fumes and air quality which are in accordance with developed countries.

Hanoi, HCMC must get rid of outdated vehicles to protect environment

Hanoi, HCMC and other localities threatened by air pollution must take dilapidated vehicles off their roads, the directive noted.

Earlier this month, the environment ministry had called on Hanoi and HCMC to retire vehicles they deem outdated and not environmentally-friendly, warning pollution is worsening in major cities.

Outdated vehicles should be evaluated for emissions and allowed to be used if they are within certain safe levels.

Air pollution in Hanoi, HCMC and other major Vietnamese cities is not a new phenomenon, but it has been worsening recently, severely affecting people's health and socio-economic activities, according to the ministry.

Dirt, emissions and construction and industrial activities coupled with unfavorable weather systems are blamed for the situation.

Hanoi now has more than 5.7 million motorbikes, of which about 2.5 million were registered before 2000, in addition to millions of motorbikes from other provinces. It also has over 730,000 cars.

Meanwhile, HCMC has around 8.12 million motorbikes, over 825,000 cars, and an estimated 30,000 new vehicles registered every month.