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Lead Dust Choking Vietnam's Cities

Break out the facemasks. A new report has found that lead dust pollution is on the rise in Vietnam’s cities and is currently 2 – 4 times higher than accepted levels.

The report, compiled by the Environment General Department (EGD), under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, was presented at a seminar on September 18th.

Hoang Duong Tung, deputy head of the EGD, said that the lead dust is concentrated in areas with high traffic. In addition, he said that the lead dust, in addition to other negative environmental factors have significantly hampered the air quality in Saigon and Hanoi.

Lead dust can easily contaminate air, water, soil, food and consumer products and can affect the function of the heart, intestines, kidneys and reproductive and nervous systems.

Not surprisingly, the report also found that the air quality in areas near factories and production centers pose health threats to workers and local residents.

And it’s not only the cities that are facing an uptick in pollution. Many rural areas are sullied by farmers burning straw after the harvest, and by emissions from open garbage dumps.

Experts have recommended solutions to reduce pollution including reducing emissions from road vehicles, controlling dust pollution in construction and transport activities, strictly handling and punishing polluters, devising and carrying out programs to improve air quality and launching campaigns to enhance public awareness.

In addition, changes must occur on an administrative level where environment management agencies must be reformed. It’s probably a good time to invest in a quality face mask…Oh, and don’t smoke.

[Tuoi Tre // Photo via Bert van Dijk

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