Air quality getting worse as legal loopholes still exists
VietNamNet Bridge - The air pollution in Vietnam is increasing in urban areas and industrial zones, mostly due to legal loopholes. 


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The air quality measured at different monitoring stations in Hanoi and HCMC has been continuously ‘unhealthy’.

At 8am on October 6, the air quality index (AQI) measured at the US Embassy area in Hanoi was 126, meaning it is ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’.

A Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MONRE) report in July showed Hanoi is the most polluted city in Vietnam as dust concentration is two or three times higher than permitted, especially on the main roads in the city.

Hanoi is the most polluted city in Vietnam as dust concentration is two or three times higher than permitted, especially on the main roads in the city.

The AQI updated at 8am in HCMC was 109 which also means ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’.

Meanwhile, on October 5, the PM 2.5 dust concentration in the air in the city was around 25-161. The concentration measured at 161 two times in the day.

The national report on the environment in urban area in 2011-2015 showed that the air quality in large cities and around industrial zones did not se considerable improvement compared with 2006-2010.

Experts believe that the problem lies in the lack of a good legal framework on controlling air pollution. There is no legal document with comprehensive regulations on air protection, but the regulations are stipulated in many different documents.

Current laws only set general requirements that institutions, individuals and owners of vehicles must treat emissions and the emissions must meet standards when it reaches the environment. 

The regulations on fuel quality and vehicles’ emission control are found in many different legal documents. Meanwhile, there is no document stipulating the control of indoor air, noise and odor. 

Nguyen Trung Thang from the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment, said that the air environment controls seem to be slightly overlooked compared to water and solid waste management.

Under the current law, MONRE takes responsibility for air quality. However, it is assigned to control large industrial emission sources. It is MOIT which has the responsibility for controlling other fixed sources, but the ministry only supervises state-owned enterprises, including those put under MONRE’s supervision, but not non-state production workshops.

To effectively control and improve the air quality, it is necessary to have a reasonable approach with many comprehensive solutions, including the reasonable land use right programming, control of vehicular traffic demand and fuel quality and the measures to deal with air environmental incidents.

Thang said a specific law on air quality control should be created. The law will stipulate the functions and responsibilities of the ministries and cooperation among them to effectively implement the measures to protect the air environment.


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Chi Mai
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