Making news

Hanoi air quality among Southeast Asia’s worst

Hanoi ranked second after Jakarta in terms of air pollution in Southeast Asia, according to a 2018 World Air Quality Report conducted by Greenpeace and IQAir AirVisual.

The report showed that Hanoi’s average PM2.5 level last year was 40.8 micrograms per cubic meter of air as opposed to 45.8 in 2017.

IQAir AirVisual, which generated data from public, ground-based and real-time monitoring stations, surveyed air quality in over 3,000 cities globally by measuring PM2.5 levels, referring to particulate matter of up to 2.5 microns in size, regarded as the pollutant with the most health impact.

Despite its improvement, Hanoi remained among the most polluted capital cities in the world, ranked the 12th worst in the list of 62. In Southeast Asia, Hanoi was the second most polluted city behind Jakarta, Indonesia, which had a PM2.5 level of 45.3.
Ho Chi Minh’s air quality worsened during last year to 26.9 from 23.6 in 2017. The southern city was the 15th most polluted city in Southeast Asia.

Vietnam ranked 17th globally and second in Southeast Asia with an average PM2.5 level of 32.9.

PM2.5, also described as super fine particles, is a fraction of the width of a human hair, which is released from vehicles, industry and natural sources like dust. The World Health Organization (WHO) Air Quality Guideline recommends an annual mean exposure threshold of 10 μg/m3 to minimize health risks.

Up to 64% among more than 3,000 surveyed cities in the report exceeded the level. In Southeast Asia, the rate was 95 percent. The report blamed pollution in Southeast Asia on the burning of biomass and vehicular emissions.

The report said governments should increase the number of air quality monitoring stations to generate more public data, while the average citizen should make lifestyle changes such as choosing environment-friendly modes of transport like cycling and walking and reduce household energy usage to combat pollution.