With the rapid urbanization in South East Asia, most countries in this region were affected by air pollution which includes Vietnam. Vietnam, home to 95 million people and a rapidly developing country is currently facing serious issue of air pollution.
According to the local news in Vietnam, both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City had more than 200 days in 2017 of air quality that was polluted beyond the health standards set by World Health Organization (WHO) specifically on PM10 and PM2.5. PM2.5 includes pollutants, such as sulfate, nitrates and black carbon. Combination of air pollutant and UV ray will pose greater damages especially on the skin.
The Air Quality Index (AQI) may have shown acceptable readings in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. However, the concentration of PM10 and PM2.5 are not at the safe level and affects the health of the population. Based on the 2016 database of WHO, the readings were 102.3 μg/m3 for PM10 and 47.9 μg/m3 for PM2.5 in Hanoi, and 89.8 μg/m3 for PM10 and 42 μg/m3 for PM2.5 in Ho Chi Minh City compared to the WHO recommended annual mean value of 20 μg/m3 for PM10 and 10 μg/m3 for PM2.5.
These fine particles may lead to heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and pneumonia. According to WHO, there were more than 60,000 deaths in Vietnam for year 2016 related to these diseases which were linked to air pollution.
No doubt the Vietnamese government will look into the matter and take necessary action to control the situation through new policies, regulation and etc. However, the process may take time to curb this issue.
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