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Saigon Has 13 New Air Quality Monitors, Mostly at Public Schools

They will provide residents with more accurate air quality readings across the city.

According to Tuoi Tre, 13 new air quality monitors have been installed around Saigon over the last three months, with funding from the United States Consulate and UNICEF Vietnam.

The monitors were mostly installed at public schools and other centers for children, those involved in the project said at an event at the American Center in District 1 on Tuesday. These include locations in Districts 2, 3, 7 and 9, as well as Binh Thanh, Hoc Mon, Phu Nhuan and Go Vap.

The news source quoted Dinh Thi Thien An, principal at Thanh Da Middle School in Binh Thanh, as saying: "I've seen changes at my school. During breaktime, the kids at my school would curiously stand around the air quality station to read indexes such as CO2, PM2.5, and moisture. They have learned the implications of these figures."

An added that her students previously thought their part of the city had cleaner air than other districts, but they have since learned that this is not the case.

"Since knowing this information, the children...have been more willing to participate in reducing trash, separating waste, and taking care of our school garden as small contributions toward protecting the environment," she said.

VnExpress adds that the monitoring equipment was purchased from Switzerland-based IQAir, a company that also runs the popular AirVisual app. The readings from the stations can now be viewed on the app.

A screenshot taken from AirVisual on Thursday, January 9. The numbers with an asterisk are estimated from satellite data, while those without an asterisk indicate an installed monitor.

Phan Trung Minh Tue, a program coordinator at the Saigon-based environmental organization CHANGE, said that not all of the schools were eager to accept the monitors.

"[They] told me they were wary they would lose face with parents if the air quality is bad," she shared with the news source. "But knowledge leads to changes."

Over the last few months, air quality has become a headline-grabbing topic both in Saigon and Hanoi, with both cities frequently posting worrying AQI figures. Saigon officials have responded with plans to build a broad environmental monitoring network.