After 2 months staffed, the Representative Office for Environmental Source Samplers, Inc. (ESS) in Vietnam is excited about the opportunities and challenges in regards to the air quality situation in the country. Air quality in Vietnam in modern times is a significant concern, particularly in Ho Chi Minh city, a primary focus city for government initiatives for sampling and pollution control activities. Ho Chi Minh City has been targeted as a serious air pollution area, due primarily to issues related to industrial production, transportation, and construction.
Air Pollution Challenges
Among the challenges is the high level of air pollution in the inner cities and Suburbs, but there are improvements. Tran Nguyen Hien, Head of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Department in Ho Chi Minh City, said the results of air-quality monitoring in 2012 showed improvement from previous years. Concentrations of NOx, benzene, and lead dropped significantly to reach the initial promulgated standards. But dust (particulate) and CO2 concentrations remain higher than the permitted standard. There are a number of reasons for this. In urban areas, concentrations of CO2 typically exceed the targets due to areas with dense traffic and inadequate infrastructure, leading to frequent congestion and traffic jams. In suburban areas, particulate pollution often comes from the manufacturing operations of local businesses.
Mr. Phung Chi Sy, Deputy Director of the Institute of Tropical Technology and Environmental Protection, says that of existing factories, only 10% have exhaust treatment system that satisfy standards. Very few companies invest in gas treatment systems, and for the ones that do the technology is typically outdated, offering no guarantee for meeting emission requirements. Of the remaining companies, many are not interested in the costs related to investing in exhaust or gas treatment systems. Fines are often less than the cost of investment, and so many of these companies will simply choose to pay the fines if infractions are discovered by inspection teams.
Overcoming the Challenges
According to Mr. Tran, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment has submitted to the HCMC People’s Committee a plan for reinvestment and rehabilitation of equipment and systems to control air and surface water, including new investments in surface water monitoring stations and the renovation of two automatic air monitoring stations. At the same time, the Department is working with relevant agencies to accelerate solutions in traffic congestion and infrastructure, including reconstruction of the traffic system in the inner cities. The hope is that this will lead to a decrease in traffic congestion.
In the suburbs, the Department plans to strengthen inspection activities and to levy sanctions against those companies with emissions violations. The first step involves increasing fines on the highest bracket to where they provide a significant deterrent to organizations in violation of the emissions standards. At the same time, the city plans on compiling a registry of the most serious violators, particularly those established in residential areas.
The Department of Environmental Protection believes that their new initiative will provide the basics for a consistent solution to air-pollution, that will maintain consistency even in the event of a significant change of focus or direction in the country’s manufacturing goals. In the long term, the goal is to provide solutions that will bring a future of clean air and healthy atmosphere to the citizens of Vietnam, and Ho Chi Minh City in particular. For experienced distributors of control equipment, and air quality consultancy firms like ESS, it is a new chance to cooperate with and support the city for clean air quality and control.
ESS was established in 1979 and has a history of over 30 years of providing stack testing, and air-quality consulting services, both domestically in the United States and internationally. Headquartered in Wilmington, North Carolina, ESS has been a leader in international Air Quality projects, mobilizing globally toHungary, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Hong Kong, the Philippines and Vietnam.Should you have needs or requirements, both domestic and internationally, give ESS a call today: 910-799-1055.
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