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Vietnam’s Air Quality Among the Worst in the World

We’ve known for a while that air quality in Vietnam is less than stellar. Based on recent readings, we know for sure that breathing in Saigon is a risky proposition, but new statistics released by Yale University shows just how bad things are.

The prestigious university has published its Environmental Performance Index (EPI) that ranks countries based on a number of indicators to determine their overall score.

Data is broken out into two categories – Environmental Health and Ecosystem Vitality. Within each are a number of subcategories that each have their own scores. When aggregated, these scores yield an EPI for any given country.

Though Vietnam ranked 136 out of 178 countries based on EPI, this score was inflated by huge strides in the Water and Sanitation category.

That pretty sums up the good news in the report as Vietnam scored poorly in nearly every other category, particularly air quality, coming in at 170 overall. That means we enjoy the eight worst air quality score in the world, folks.

Yale’s data matches up with both government and private pollution readings in Saigon.

Vietnam's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment caps the safe level of dust concentration at 300 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3), a level which is already considered unhealthy by the US-based Environmental Protection Agency's Air Quality Index (AQI). Typically, a reading of 100 or higher is no longer considered fresh air.

But hey, at least we don’t live in Beijing where breathing the air equates to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day.

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