Ha Noi authorities advised to work with nearby provinces to control air quality

Experts said that 29 per cent of the city's air pollution was caused by industrial activities, 26 per cent from burning straw, 23 per cent from dust and 15 per cent from transport activities

HÀ NỘI — Hà Nội needs to issue more policies and work with nearby provinces to improve its air quality, according to a World Bank official.

Nguyễn Thị Lệ Thu, a senior environmental expert of the World Bank, gave the advice on Wednesday during a virtual workshop themed ‘Controlling the air quality in Hà Nội’, organised by the World Bank and the non-profit organisation Live and Learn for Environment and Community in Hà Nội.

Thu also said the municipal administration should raise emission control standards for power plants and industry by using flue-gas desulphurisation, high-efficiency dust filters and reducing coal and biomass use in boilers and furnaces in industry and craft villages.

These moves would help reduce more than 30 per cent of the PM2.5 concentration in the air, she said.

Besides, it was necessary to control motorcycle emissions and promote the use of public transport and electric vehicles to reduce the PM2.5 concentration in the air by 5 microgrammes per cubic metre, she said.

The city also needed to develop sustainable waste management strategies, she said, adding that the ban on burning straw and waste outdoors must be enforced.

The ban on burning of crop residues would contribute to 25 per cent of the total decline in PM2.5 concentration in the air, she said.

Addressing sources of ammonia from agriculture was also a solution, she said.

Associate Professor Hoàng Anh Lê, Research Team Leader of the University of Natural Sciences under the Việt Nam National University-Hà Nội, said the city’s authorities needed to strengthen the inspection and supervision of waste sources, especially large waste sources.

It should install an automatic emission monitoring system and continuously transmit data to the city’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment for monitoring, he said.

The city also needed to apply information technology to environmental management and develop environmental-management software for production and service establishments to strictly control air pollution, he added.

Current situation

Thu said that 29 per cent of the city’s air pollution was caused by industrial activities, 26 per cent from burning straw, 23 per cent from dust and 15 per cent from transport activities.

Ambient PM2.5 concentration is set to continue increasing throughout the Red River Delta region, including Hà Nội, up to 2030. The concentration is estimated to be more than double Việt Nam’s NAAQS of 25 microgrammes per cubic metre, exceeding the global guideline value of the World Health Organisation, she said.

People exposed to air pollution over a long period could suffer ischaemic heart disease, lung cancer, cerebrovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, acute lower respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, she said.

The social cost for the health effects was estimated to account for 7.74 per cent of Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) in Hà Nội, she said.

Dafei Huang, from the Environment and Natural Resources and Blue Economy Global Practice of the World Bank, shared some of China’s experience in controlling air quality at the virtual workshop.

China spent US$750 million per year to curb air pollution in Hebei Province and Beijing during 2013-17, she said.

The local administration had taken a lot of actions, including banning the burning of agricultural waste, controlling emissions from power plants, coal stoves, industrial activities and heavy vehicles to curb air solutions to decrease 25 per cent of the total PM2.5 concentration in the air, she said.

As a result, it reduced the PM2.5 concentrations in the air by 39 per cent by the end 2017 in Hebei Province and 35.6 per cent in Beijing by the end of 2017.

It helped China avoid 370,000 premature deaths due to air pollution in that time, she said.