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Hanoi air pollution has reached a hazardous level

Air pollution levels in Hanoi have reached "unhealthy" levels, according to officials. The pollution is being driven by emissions from agriculture and industry, and is expected to continue over the next several days.

According to the Switzerland-based air quality monitoring facility, IQAir AirVisual, the air quality index (AQI) in Hanoi stayed at an average level of 154 on Monday.

An AQI reading of above 100 is considered unhealthy for humans as it could cause respiratory diseases like pneumonia, bronchitis, and respiratory failure, especially among young children and the elderly.

On November 4, 5, and 6, the index measured 157, 155, and 161 in Hanoi. On Monday, Hanoi's neighbor Thai Nguyen Province was the most polluted locality in Vietnam, with an AQI of 176. The capital and Ho Chi Minh City followed with an index of 137.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) for both Hanoi and Thai Nguyen is expected to remain at "unhealthy" levels on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to AirVisual.

As recommended by AirVisual, people living in areas with "unhealthy" air quality should wear masks outdoors and avoid outdoor exercise.

The AQI in Hanoi was measured at hazardous levels by the Vietnamese environment monitoring app PAM Air on Monday. The AQI ranged from 150 to over 200 in different areas of the city.

According to AirVisual, the main pollutant in Hanoi is fine dust PM2.5.

On Monday, the city's PM 2.5 concentration was measured at 60.4g/m, which is 12.1 times the air quality guideline value recommended by the World Health Organization.

PM2.5 is defined as ambient airborne particulate that measures up to 2.5 microns in size, just a fraction of the width of a human hair. Their microscopic size allows these particles to be absorbed deep into the bloodstream upon inhalation, potentially causing health effects like asthma, lung cancer, and heart disease.

Exposure to PM2.5 has been linked to a variety of negative health effects, including cardiovascular disease, respiratory illness, and premature mortality.

Hoang Duong Tung, chairman of the Vietnam Clean Air Network, has said that the practice of burning rice fields after harvest season is a major contributor to worsening air pollution in the capital city of Hanoi.

According to the mayor, vehicle emissions, construction activities, and industrial operations are also some of the main causes for the current situation.

A study published last year found that exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) reduces life expectancy by an average of 2.49 years among Hanoians.

The first study to use data provided by local authorities to evaluate the burden of disease caused by impacts of PM2.5 dust pollution on public health in Hanoi is "Research on the impact of air pollution caused by PM2.5 dust on public health in Hanoi in 2019" by the Hanoi-based non-profit organization Live and Learn for Environment and Community (Live&Learn), Hanoi University of Public Health (HUPH), and Vietnam National University's University of Engineering and Technology.

The study found that exposure to PM2.5 dust resulted in 2,855 premature deaths, equivalent to about 35.5 premature deaths per 100,000 people. The life expectancy lost from exposure to PM2.5 dust totaled 908 days, or 2.49 years for Hanoians.

Source: VNExpress