Urbanites live with dust as scientists mull solutions to air pollution
VietNamNet Bridge - Scientists have repeatedly issued warnings about air pollution, especially the presence of PM1.0 and nano dust, and the link between air quality and disease.


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Deputy Director of the Center for Community Research and Training, Nguyen Trong An, said he and his co-workers had carried out a survey in Thanh Hai commune of Thanh Liem district in Ha Nam province and found that cancer was the cause for one-third of deaths in the locality every year.

They found that there are two cement plants and two quarries in the commune. “The dust concentration measuring machine found alarming results. Locals can only breathe standard air for one or two weeks every year,” he said. 

An said fine dust such as PM2.5 and PM1.0 or nano dust are especially dangerous because with the small size, they can easily enter human respiratory systems and cannot be prevented by nostril hair, mucus in nose or bronchi. 

The nanodust can penetrate into alveoli, blocking oxygen exchange holes, causing pneumonia in children and cardiovascular disease and stroke in the elderly. Masks cannot protect people from fine dust because it can only prevent big dust particles.

Vu Xuan Dan from the HCMC Center for Labor Health Protection and the Environment said the finer the dust, the more easily it can penetrate into the respiratory system and affect DNA structure.

The nanodust can penetrate into alveoli, blocking oxygen exchange holes, causing pneumonia in children and cardiovascular disease and stroke in the elderly. Masks cannot protect people from fine dust because it can only prevent big dust particles.

“Transitional metals in dust such as Cr, Cd, Ni and aldehyde can interfere with the DNA’s repair mechanism, thus causing lung cancer,” he said.

A report on Hanoi’s environmental status showed that in 2011-2015, the cost of medical examination and treatment for respiratory diseases, and economic losses caused by  sick leave, was VND1,500 VND/person/day. With 3.5 million people in inner urban areas, the damage was worth nearly VND2 trillion a year.

Scientists pointed out that there are many sources of dust, including transport, construction, daily activities, agricultural production, craft villages and industrial production.

Nghiem Trung Dung from Hanoi University of Science & Technology said there are not only local sources of dust, but dust from other localities as well. A monitoring report shows that dust spreads from the north in winter because of the northeast monsoon. At some moments, the PM10 and PM2.5 dust in Luc Ngan district of Bac Giang province was higher than in Hanoi. Ultra fine dust can spread thousands of kilometers depending on meteorological conditions and topography.

Affirming that transport determines air quality, Hoang Xuan Co from the Hanoi National University said Vietnam has step by step improved the required standards for vehicles. Vietnam is planning to apply Euro 4 standards and run elevated railways to restrict the number of personal vehicles in use.


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