Tỉnh Bình Dương is a province in the south of Vietnam bordering the southern city of Ho Chi Minh City which sits at to the south and southwest. In 2019 it had an estimated population of 2.5 million people.
In early 2021, Tỉnh Bình Dương was experiencing poor air quality with an “Unhealthy” US AQI number of 178. The PM2.5 level was recorded as 108.4 µg/m³. With such poor quality air, the advice is to wear a good quality mask when venturing outside and to close doors and windows to prevent the ingress of dirty air. Outdoor exercise should be avoided until the quality of air improves. Running an air purifier is an advantage if access to one is available.
The province will direct the People's Committees of wards to set up an environmental protection patrol team to promptly detect organisations and individuals that cause environmental pollution to sanction administrative violations, at the same time, actively communicating to raise awareness for everyone to work together to protect the environment. The province has instructed the city to install cameras at spontaneous landfill sites, recorded as a treatment base. There is a policy of publicising the identities and images of enterprises and individuals violating the environment, in addition to educational purposes, it is also there to act as a warning and a deterrent.
The burning of straw after the harvest is a common occurrence in rural areas which produces a huge amount of pollutants. People are also tempted to throw other things into the flames such as plastic bottles and other pieces of flammable garbage. The government are trying to dissuade this practice but to little avail. The alternatives can be expensive and therefore something not to be even considered by rural folk.
At the end of 2019, Ho Chi Minh City was covered in a blanket of fog-like pollution. Binh Duong is an industrial development province located right next to it. It also appears "foggy" at noon. Noting the air pollution in Binh Duong, the sky had been covered in a layer like "mist" in recent days. On 1st October, although it was sunny at noon, it looked like it was covered in fog. Objects could be seen at a distance of 3km.
According to the results of periodic monitoring at certain times of the day during February 2019, it showed that the main air pollution problem in Binh Duong province was dust and noise. Dust pollution is evident in the main traffic axes and mineral exploitation areas. Along with dust pollution, noise also exceeds the permitted standards at most intersections. For the Baseline, Rural or Urban areas, concentrations of pollutants are mostly within the permitted threshold.
The dust concentration reached the standard acceptable level at most of the monitoring locations, particularly Uyen town, however, Hung - Tan Uyen exceeded the limit by 1.25 times. The monitoring points in traffic areas such as Mieu Ong Cu and Cau Ong Bo crossroads exceeded the standard by 2.1 and 2.51 times, respectively. The stone quarrying area of Thuong Tan and Tan Uyen was 2.64 times higher than the standard, the highest of all positions.
In comparison to the previous year, it was revealed that there was very little change in figures.
Being relatively close to Ho Chi Minh City, many people live in Tỉnh Bình Dương and commute to the city on a daily basis. There are 1000’s of motorbikes which are used and many of them are old. The fuel they burn is often adulterated by the addition of cheap hydrocarbons which create the microscopic PM2.5 and black carbon deposits (BC).
In some of the larger cities, vehicles over the age of 15 years are being prevented from entering the city centres because of the greater amount of pollutants they produce. The really old 2-stroke motorbikes are also being targeted. It must be remembered though that many people are not wealthy and do not have the means to buy new vehicles so they keep repairing their current ones, even though they are old and dirty. The government needs to offer incentives or subsidies before great changes can occur.
Many international brands such as Nike, Adidas, H&M and McDonald's have manufacturing bases in Tỉnh Bình Dương whose products are sold locally as well as being exported. These finished goods are carried by road transportation for distribution elsewhere. There are at least 30 industrial zones located throughout the province and all of their finished products will need to be transported, initially by road.
As with most cities in South East Asia, most of the pollution comes from the emissions caused by transportation, exhaust gases from industry and dust pollution from the dry earth. There is also a degree of pollution caused by the burning of organic agricultural waste in the surrounding countryside.
Currently, the province has 29 industrial zones and 12 industrial clusters operating so environmental issues are also focused in and around these areas. Dust pollution is evident around the main traffic routes and some industrial zones. Along with dust pollution, the noise also exceeds the permitted standards at most intersections. However, the pollution concentrations are within an acceptable level.
In Asia, especially Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, coal-fired power stations play an important role in ensuring energy security. However, the process of burning coal to produce electricity will create carbon dioxide (CO2), mercury (Hg), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and dust, causing serious pollution and affecting human health.
At the end of December 2019, a large fire broke out in a landfill site of more than 5,000 square metres. Although the fire was extinguished, the smoke was still suspicious and especially the burning smell of the smouldering plastic below emitted a strong noxious odour. The toxic smoke is blown by the wind to spread over a large area, making the air polluted.
Since the day of the fire until now, unable to stand the smell of toxic smoke, many people have had to send their children to other places to safeguard their health. Adults in the home must also wear a mask and close the doors and windows. Near the smoking mountains of garbage, some companies have to allow workers to leave because there are many cases of nausea and dizziness when smelling toxic smoke.
There are many craft villages in Tỉnh Bình Dương specialising in lacquerware, carpentry and pottery. These are traditional crafts which have been established for generations. Because of their unique nature, they are high producers of pollution. These crafts flourish here because of the proximity to the nearby forests of quality hardwood. Making incense is a very meticulous job and requires the ingenuity of the craftsman. The raw materials for making incense are only acacia powder, sawdust, coal dust and aromatic powder, but must be mixed in such proportions so that when burning the incense, it will quickly catch fire, give off the scent and be permanent. Unfortunately, it also produces the microscopic pollutant which is PM2.5.
Air monitoring results in January 2018 showed that the concentrations of monitoring parameters of carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2), ozone (O3), lead, PM2.5 and PM10 dust at most monitoring points are below the acceptable standard threshold. Air pollution is mainly dust pollution at intersections. Compared with monitoring results from December 2017, the figures showed that dust in rural and urban areas increased from between 1.3 and 4.7 times; intersections increased between 1.4 and 3.7 times; and a stable industrial sector, the highest growth rate of 2.7 times at the location of the Wimbledon Company, located on Road No. 22, Song Than II Industrial Park. Compared to the same period from the previous year, dust concentration increased in most locations in rural and urban areas from between 1.3 to 2.9 times, only at the intersection of Ong Cu Temple and Ong Cau Crossroads was the increase much higher with figures of between 2.3 and 2.7 times higher.
Strong, healthy people can suffer the consequences of badly polluted air. They may experience breathing difficulties whilst exercising or following outdoor pursuits. The risk to your health depends on several conditions such as the pollutant type and concentration and the length of time exposed to the polluted air.
Very high levels can have an immediate effect in that it will aggravate cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses. This, in turn, will put extra strain on the heart and lungs as they need to work harder in order to maintain the required level of oxygen needed by the body. Cells within the respiratory system can become irrevocably damaged.
Long-term exposure can lead to the acceleration of the ageing process in the lungs which will cause a loss in lung capacity and a decrease in their function.
Certain groups of people must take extra care when the air quality is noticeably poor. These include pregnant women, children under the age of 14 years and senior citizens. Outdoor workers need to take extra precautions, such as wearing a high-quality mask and all outdoor exercise must be limited until the quality improves.