Back Stories » Saigon's Haze Will Stick Around Until Late November

Saigon's Haze Will Stick Around Until Late November

These days, it's pretty much a given that breathing during rush hour is hazardous to your health. What with the exhaust fumes and the standstill traffic, taking in a lungful of that hot, dusty, smog-filled air is bound to have an impact on a person's well-being.

But while air pollution is already an issue in Saigon, one expert says we'll be dealing with especially bad haze from now until the end of November, reports Thanh Nien.

According to Le Thi Xuan Lan, a meteorology lecturer at one of the city's universities, the entire Southeast Asian region is waiting on Indonesia to put out its forest fires, which are burning unchecked across several of the country's islands. The ongoing blaze has sent pollution levels soaring in cities like Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, never mind in its own local communities, where air pollution is over six times the safe amount in some places.

The haze first arrived in Saigon earlier this month. Though it dissipated a few days later, the smog seems to have returned in full force, turning most of the city a dull grey. Winds from the northeast bring slightly clearer skies, however the forest fire smoke from afar is not the only culprit: Lan points out that local pollution from Saigon's increasingly congested traffic is also part of the problem.

For its part, Indonesia has told its neighbors that it will get its act together by end of November, a promise which may or may not come to fruition given the extreme nature of these fires.

Meanwhile, in Saigon, Deputy Director of the Southern Hydrometeorology Forecasting Center Dang Van Dung says that haze appears occasionally during bouts of heavy traffic and industrial activity. With no publicly accessible monitoring system and traffic jams becoming increasingly routine – if, of course, you believe that traffic jams are real – you'll want to invest in a quality face mask for the foreseeable future.

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