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New Study Claims Hanoi Is Among the Least Sustainable Cities in the World

The recently published Sustainable Cities Index compared the sustainability of 100 cities around the world. What determines a cities sustainability? Researchers at Arcadis, a consultancy firm headquartered in Amsterdam, looked at three main factors: people, profit and planet.

When considered solely for issues that directly affect people, like income equality and transportation, Hanoi ranked 92nd out of 100. The city ranked 91st when researchers looked at the economy and business infrastructure.

Yet when researchers looked at environmental conditions, such as levels of air pollution, energy consumption and recycling rates in Hanoi, the results were alarming. The capital was evaluated as the least environmentally friendly city on the list.

This is in part due to how fast Hanoi’s air quality has been declining. Last year, the city only experienced 38 days of clean air. What’s more, scientists found double the amount of particularly hazardous particles, or PM 2.5, in the capital compared to Saigon during the first quarter of 2018.

A large contributor to this problem is the city's geographic location: it gets hit every winter with changing wind patterns that bring down pollutants from southern China. Nearby coal and brick factories don’t help, nor does the addition of over five million motorbikes and a nearby village burning plastic.

Hanoi authorities currently plan to ban motorbikes by 2030, however, and foreign investors have been showing increased interest in sustainable markets such as wind power. Last week, construction was completed on Vietnam’s largest onshore wind farm.

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