Hanoi air pollution at an alarming rate: What can you do?





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Recently, at the Vietnam Business Forum 2016, many businesses have announced that they will withdraw their investment capital from Vietnam because the habitat is no longer safe due to severe air and environmental pollution.

At the forum, Kenneth Atkison, chairman of the British Business Association in Vietnam, said that environmental pollution indicators in Vietnam were so high that businessmen do not dare to take their families to Vietnam, which affects on foreign direct investment in Vietnam. In recent months, in addition to environmental incidents involving Formosa in Ha Tinh and the mass death of fish in many parts of the country, news and social networking sites have issued alerts about an environmental hazard that is directly threatening the lives of people in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. PM 2.5 is Particle  Pollution, a form of molecular pollution.

Molecular and PM 2.5 fine dust particles pollution: Silent death

Molecular pollution, also known as Particle Pollution, is caused by tiny micrometer-sized dust particles floating in the air.

PM10 coarse particles have a diameter of 2.5-10 microns, usually produced by grinders, blenders or dust clouds emitted by road vehicles. Fine dust particles PM2.5 are dust particles with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less, produced by combustion in  motor vehicles, power plants, forest and agricultural fires  and some industrial processes. These particles can only be seen by electron microscope. One micrometer is 1/1000 mm, so a PM2.5 particle will be approximately 30 times smaller than human hair.

According to scientists, dust particles with diameter less than 10 micrometers are particles that can be inhaled by humans, then  they accumulate in the lungs, damaging human health. Particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter are particularly dangerous because they can penetrate into the respiratory tract and the lungs.

Exposure to fine particles can cause immediate health effects such as irritation of eyes, nose, throat and lungs, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. Exposure to fine dust particles can also affect the function of the lungs and aggravate such diseases as asthma and some heart diseases. Long-term exposure to fine particles is also associated with increasing rates of chronic bronchitis, impairing lung function and increasing mortality from lung cancer and heart diseases. People with respiratory diseases and heart diseases, children and the elderly are particularly sensitive to PM2.5 dust.

What is the air pollution situation in Hanoi?

To assess the level of particle pollution caused by PM2.5 fine dust particles, scientists used the Air Quality Index (AQI) (Air Quality Index: amount of PM2.5 dust particles per cubic meter of air). For example, if the AQI is 10, there are 10 PM2.5 dust particles in a cubic meter of air. The quality of the air is measured according to the AQI as follows:

According to environmental experts, there are four main causes for dust pollution: increasing transportation, construction, burning and the operation of thermal power plants. Although these factories are far from Hanoi, PM2.5 fine particles have the ability to spread very far. Of these four causes, traffic is the main culprit. In addition, building and construction sites in the city center pollute the air much more.

What should you do to protect yourself and your family from air pollution?

The environment cannot be improved  in a short time, it has been  confirmed that in the near future, air pollution due to PM2,5 dust in Hanoi will be worse. So before we wait for the authorities to conduct some measures to minimize this situation, the  people need to take measures to protect themselves.

Pay attention to the daily air pollution information

At present, Hanoians can visit the aqicn.org website to directly monitor the air quality at some points in Hanoi. Mobile users can also download the Airvisual app for iOS and Android devices.

Apply self-protection methods

  • Do not go out when the air pollution is high.
  • If possible, install indoor air filters to prevent air pollution. Use filters with MERV of 9 or above (MERV - Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value).
  • Always close the door to prevent dust entering the house
  • When riding a motorbike on the road, use a mask that can withstand fine dust or use a specialized N95 mask in to minimize PM2.5 dust entering your respiratory tract.

  • Exercise outdoors in the early morning or evening. Polluted air often reaches the highest level in the sun, so indoor gyms in hot weather will help to avoid exposure.

Adjust your eating and living habits accordingly

Change your diet to help the lungs fight the effects of air pollution. Some studies have shown that foods rich in vitamins can help the body have better resistance and help you fight cancer.

  • Enhance foods rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene. They help to form and maintain the lining of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract, helping them to resist infection more effectively. Good sources are  butter, sweet potatoes, carrots and animal liver.
  • Eat foods rich in vitamin C. This vitamin helps to build connective tissue and firmly build up the blood vessels, helping the body to heal faster. Easy-to-find sources of vitamin C are in oranges, strawberries, mangos, broccoli and papaya.
  • Focus on vitamin E in the diet. This substance works to protect against cell damage, increases oxygen supply to the cell, thereby strengthening the immune system. Vitamin E is found in leafy vegetables, whole grains, egg yolks, butter and vegetable oil.
  • Increase the amount of selenium in the diet. Selenium protects the liver and lung against free radical damage that can lead to cancer. Eat eggs, onions, garlic, whole grains and fish.
  • Use natural detox products for your health. Compared with synthetic products from chemical ingredients, products derived from nature still have more advantages such as no side effects, no allergic reactions, peace of mind when using and being trusted by many.




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