​Hanoi to have 359 air quality monitoring stations by 2020: chairman

The stations are expected to help Hanoi better cope with its worsening air pollution

A woman wears a face mask amidst worsening pollution in Hanoi.

A network of 359 air quality monitoring stations set to be installed by 2020 are expected to help Hanoi better cope with its worsening air pollution.

In addition to Hanoi’s ten existing environmental monitoring stations, as many as 349 more will be set up by 2020, according to a recent plan approved by the city’s administration.

Seven of the stations will run automatically throughout the year, while 352 will be operated regularly to monitor Hanoi’s air at different times of the year.

The ten monitoring stations already in place in the Vietnamese capital are funded by the French government, and have been useful in determining the main cause of the capital’s pollution, which is exhaust fumes from automobiles and motorbikes.

However, the installed stations can only provide indicators for limited areas of Hanoi, while a complete system of 359 stations by 2020 is crucial in improving the city’s capability to cope with its worsening pollution, said Nguyen Duc Chung, chairman of the municipal People’s Committee.

The local Department of Natural Resources and Environment will be responsible for drafting a scheme to improve the city’s competence in environmental monitoring, Chung said.

Last year, an air quality reading by the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi recorded a ‘hazardous’ air quality index on March 1, sparking concerns among citizens, who were worried that pollution in the capital was getting as bad as Beijing.

The Vietnamese capital suffered 282 days of excessive PM2.5 levels in 2016, a recording that measures the amount of fine particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less in the air, according to the air quality guidelines of the World Health Organization.

In December last year, Beijing's city government issued a red alert for severely high levels of air pollution, a result of decades of breakneck economic growth.

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