By HUA TRAN
Air pollution in Hanoi has reached an alarming level recently, with heavy transportation, industrialization and energy production to blame, according to the authorities.
The Real-time Air Quality Index on aqicn.org this week ranked pollution in Vietnam’s capital as “very unhealthy”. The index measured near the Vietnam-based U.S. embassy at the city center hit 154, a level that will severely threaten the lives of old people and those with heart or respiratory problems.
On the same day, Hanoi’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment reported that the index recorded at the industrial area to the west of Hanoi reached 202, a dangerous level considered as “hazardous”, which means people should avoid outdoor activities. Not very far from there, on Ba Trieu Street downtown, the index measured reached 201.
A survey conducted by GreenID organization on 1,000 Hanoi citizens showed that they blamed transportation, industrialization and energy production for the air pollution in the city with transportation to be the primary cause.
Hoang Tung, a senior official from the Department of Natural Resources and Environment said that heavy traffic has even worsened in the past few days due to the Lunar New Year.
“High demand for travel by personal vehicles in preparation for Tet, the biggest and most significant holiday in Vietnam, has caused the heavy pollution in the city,” he said. He also added that the cold weather also aggravates the problem.
The Department of Natural Resources and Environment has recently published a report stating that traffic activities account for more than 70 percent of air pollution in Hanoi. It was also reported that the city of eight million people currently has more than nearly six million vehicles.