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Jun 04, 2024 / 11:36

Action required to address air pollution

Foreign specialists recommended Vietnam to fairly allocate resources towards combating air pollution, with a particular focus on Hanoi.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have urged action against air pollution, calling upon all stakeholders to accelerate the common drive. 

 Representatives of the UNDP, WHO, and Hanoi attended the event on June 3. Photos: WHO Vietnam 

The idea was raised on June 3 to celebrate World Environment Day (June 5) in an event titled “Clean Air, Green City”, bringing together individuals, community-based organizations, government agencies and the UN to make a collective commitment to achieving clean air in Hanoi through joint action and innovative solutions.

Dr Angela Pratt, WHO Representative in Vietnam, said: “Poor air quality is a significant risk to health in Hanoi. Without action, the health harms from air pollution could put the significant gains in life expectancy achieved in recent decades at risk.” 

 Dr Angela Pratt, WHO Representative in Vietnam, speaks at the event. 

Improving air quality in Hanoi aligns with the Government’s commitment to protecting and promoting health and sustainable economic and social development to create a brighter, healthier, and fairer future, she stated.

At the event held by the city’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment, UNDP, WHO, and the Hanoi Women’s Union, UNDP Representative in Vietnam Ramla Khalidi stressed the importance of addressing air pollution, saying it’s crucial to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. 

 UNDP Representative in Vietnam Ramla Khalidi addresses the event. 

“The air we breathe impacts every aspect of our lives, from our health to our economy and the well-being of future generations. While it is critically important to tackle the impact of air pollution, we must equally prioritize action that addresses the sources of air pollution,” Ramla Khalidi shared with The Hanoi Times.

On this occasion, she called upon all stakeholders – government agencies, private sector partners, civil society organizations, the international and local community – to accelerate actions against air pollution.

During a panel discussion on clean air for sustainable development, it was revealed that Hanoi, the capital of the country and home to numerous stunning and historic sites, experiences bad air quality on many days of the year.

The air can contain nearly nine times the WHO-recommended levels of harmful fine particulate matter, significantly impacting people’s health.

As air pollution has effects that go beyond health, addressing air pollution helps result in numerous additional advantages. Clean air initiatives will help Vietnam meet its climate change targets, increase access to renewable energy, fortify environmental governance, and create more sustainable cities.

It will take a concerted effort to address the causes of air pollution in order to lower emissions from transportation, industry, burning of straw and rice stubble, livestock emissions, and fertilizer use.

Panelists from the government, international organizations, and scientific community talked about how the Clean Air, Green City event will encourage more cooperation between stakeholders.

It helps give them the confidence to take decisive action right away to address the problem of air pollution and increase the number of days when locals and tourists can enjoy clear skies and clean air. Additionally, this event aims to stimulate the creation of numerous creative local solutions for enhancing air quality. 

 The event attracts a large number of participants. 

World Environment Day is the biggest international day for the environment. Under the direction of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and taking place every year since 1973, it has expanded into the biggest worldwide venue for environmental education. Millions of people celebrate it all around the world.

On this occasion, Hanoi has identified 12 reasons for the city’s air pollution, which include the effects of climate change and seasonal fluctuations, dust and smoke from production facilities in the city and some nearby provinces, exhaust gases from cars and motorbikes, cooking on a honeycomb charcoal stove, burning wood, handling of materials, stench from untreated drainage, smells from livestock and poultry farms, burning straw and garbage, poor waste collection, pollution from lakes and perennial ponds, untreated sludge, and car and motorcycle exhaust.