HCMC continues to fight air pollution for the 2020-2030 period

Air pollution in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) in recent years have gone down thanks to various policies being implemented simultaneously. City officials from 2020 plan to put even more schemes into action, including air quality monitoring and traffic control.

Citizens encouraged to take public transport to cut air pollution
Citizens encouraged to take public transport to cut air pollution

HCMC in previous years planned to cut down 70% pollutants from motor vehicles in the “Program to reduce environmental pollution in the 2016-2020 period”. The program was implemented by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment in collaboration with the HCMC Department of Transport.

According to experts, the pollutant concentration measured at multiple quality monitoring stations in HCMC showed a clear downward trend. Specifically, CO concentration went down 19-42%, dust 1-29%, and NOx 76-90% compared to 2016 at several major intersections and traffic hotspots.

Authorities said these were the results of the city’s encouraging people to use public transport instead of personal vehicles, promoting E5 petrol consumption and implementing many schemes to limit emissions from industrial and construction activities.

More notably, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment implemented a web-based data hub that provides smart device users with real-time updates on the air quality measured at every monitoring station.

Meanwhile, the HCMC Department of Transport is taking action to improve road traffic control, aiming to reduce congestion and air pollutants. Infrastructure solutions are also being pushed, such as the urban railway No. 1, the traffic tunnel at An Suong intersection, and multiple overpass bridges at traffic arteries. They also focus on deploying quick response groups that answer to online traffic feedback.

The first BRT fast bus route of HCMC is being outlined, estimated and prepared for bidding and expected to be operational in 2021, said Director of the HCMC Department of Natural Resources and Environment Nguyen Toan Thang.

This bus route is 23km in length, running from An Lac roundabout to Rach Chiec station, with a total investment of VND3,036 billion (about US$130 million), a part of the HCMC Green Transport Development project.

HCMC in 2020 will build 9 fixed air monitoring stations and 1 mobile station, seek funding for more during the period of 2020 to 2030, as well as continue to raise the awareness of citizens and urban manufacturers.

A scheme to monitor vehicles’ emissions is being carried out by HCMC Department of Transport, said its Deputy Director Bui Hoa An. The scheme focuses on collecting old vehicles that are major polluters, checking motorbikes’ emission rate to make sure they are up to standards, and promulgate policies on taxes and service prices to serve the social funding of inspection activities.

HCMC authorities plan to suggest to run a test project on monitoring emissions of motorbikes in use to the People’s Council and Prime Minister. Citizens with motorbikes, especially ones in use for more than 5 years, will be encouraged to bring them in for free testing and get a complimentary bottle of automotive lubricant.