Last update 3/26/2012 10:25:34 AM (GMT+7)

No one takes responsibility for dirty air

VietNamNet Bridge – The recent reports released by different institutions all affirmed that Hanoi is the city with the worst air in South East Asia. However, no report pointed out which agency has to take responsibility for the dirty air.

Hanoi is one of the cities in the world which has the most polluted air in Asia. Vietnam ranks the 123rd among 132 countries in terms of air quality. The ranking was released at the Davos Economic Forum.

In fact, the information does not surprise Hanoians. Four years ago, experts also declared that Hanoi was the most polluted in South East Asia, and no improvement has been made so far. The information that Hanoians want to hear now is who will take responsibility for the dirty air and how to improve the problem. However, they have not got the answers to the questions from anywhere.

The report by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment shows that the air in Hanoi has been seriously polluted, mostly because of the high dust concentration which has badly affected the quality of life and people’s health.

Also according to the ministry, the average TSP and PM10 indexes in the air in big urban areas are higher by 1.5-3 times than the allowed levels. Especially, the dust pollution is very serious in many places, where the indexes are 5-7 times higher than the allowed levels. The traffic activities with 4 million cars and motorbikes in circulation cause 70 percent of the pollution in Hanoi.

Deputy General Director of the General Directorate of Environment, Hoang Duong Tung said that the polluted water can be purified by filtering and boiling before drinking, while the polluted air directly goes into people’s lungs, thus causing serious diseases.

The number of people infected with air quality relating diseases would be double by 2020, if the air quality continues degrading.

Tung has admitted that the air quality in Vietnam has been degrading, which has seriously influenced the health of the community and caused socio-economic consequences. However, no proper solution has been found.

“Everybody’s business is nobody’s business.” Since too many ministries get involved in the environment management, no ministry and branch spends appropriate attention to implement their duties.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment has been assigned by the government to take care about environmental problems, including the air problems. However, in fact, it is the Ministry of Transport which has been assigned the task of controlling the air pollution in urban areas.

Experts have also pointed out that there is an overlapping in the duties and power to deal with the air pollution problem assigned to the Ministries of Natural Resources and the Environment, Transport, Industry and Trade, and Construction.

While there are a lot of legal documents on waste water, solid waste management, where is no legal document on the air quality management.

According to the Pollution Control Agency, Vietnam lacks the tools used to control the air pollution – the monitoring stations and stocktaking equipments. However, the stations donated by international organizations or funded by the State have not been put into operation because of the lack of money. Meanwhile, an automatic air quality monitoring station costs up to 300,000 dollars.

Professor Pham Duy Hien, a leading environmental expert in Vietnam, said that Vietnam is wasting the figures collected by the operational stations. He said that the figures should be processed and analyzed, and then post on Internet for reference. Meanwhile, since 2004, Hien and other environmentalists cannot update information about the air quality in Hanoi and HCM City any more.

Source: Tien phong