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Tỉnh Bình Dương is a province in the south of Vietnam bordering the southern city ofHo 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 whenventuring outside and to close doors and windows to prevent the ingress ofdirty air. Outdoor exercise should be avoided until the quality of airimproves. 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 anenvironmental protection patrol team to promptly detect organisations andindividuals that cause environmental pollution to sanction administrativeviolations, at the same time, actively communicating to raise awareness foreveryone to work together to protect the environment. The province has instructedthe city to install cameras at spontaneous landfill sites, recorded as atreatment base. There is a policy of publicising the identities and images ofenterprises and individuals violating the environment, in addition toeducational 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 whichproduces a huge amount of pollutants. People are also tempted to throw otherthings into the flames such as plastic bottles and other pieces of flammablegarbage. The government are trying to dissuade this practice but to littleavail. 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-likepollution. Binh Duong is an industrial development province located right nextto it. It also appears "foggy" at noon. Noting the air pollution inBinh Duong, the sky had been covered in a layer like "mist" in recentdays. On 1st October, although it was sunny at noon, it looked likeit 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 duringFebruary 2019, it showed that the main air pollution problem in Binh Duongprovince was dust and noise. Dust pollution is evident in the main traffic axesand mineral exploitation areas. Along with dust pollution, noise also exceedsthe permitted standards at most intersections. For the Baseline, Rural or Urbanareas, concentrations of pollutants are mostly within the permitted threshold.
The dust concentration reached the standard acceptable level at most of themonitoring locations, particularly Uyen town, however, Hung - Tan Uyen exceededthe limit by 1.25 times. The monitoring points in traffic areas such as MieuOng 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 2.64times 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 andcommute to the city on a daily basis. There are 1000’s of motorbikes which areused and many of them are old. The fuel they burn is often adulterated by theaddition 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 beingprevented from entering the city centres because of the greater amount ofpollutants they produce. The really old 2-stroke motorbikes are also beingtargeted. It must be remembered though that many people are not wealthy and donot have the means to buy new vehicles so they keep repairing their currentones, even though they are old and dirty. The government needs to offerincentives or subsidies before great changes can occur.
Many international brands such as Nike, Adidas, H&M and McDonald's havemanufacturing bases in Tỉnh Bình Dương whose products are sold locally as wellas being exported. These finished goods are carried by road transportation fordistribution elsewhere. There are at least 30 industrial zones locatedthroughout 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 theemissions caused by transportation, exhaust gases from industry and dustpollution from the dry earth. There is also a degree of pollution caused by theburning of organic agricultural waste in the surrounding countryside.
Currently, the province has 29 industrial zones and 12 industrial clusters operating soenvironmental issues are also focused in and around these areas. Dust pollutionis evident around the main traffic routes and some industrial zones. Along withdust pollution, the noise also exceeds the permitted standards at mostintersections. 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 carbondioxide (CO2), mercury (Hg), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphurdioxide (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 morethan 5,000 square metres. Although the fire was extinguished, the smoke wasstill suspicious and especially the burning smell of the smouldering plasticbelow emitted a strong noxious odour. The toxic smoke is blown by the wind tospread over a large area, making the air polluted.
Since the day of the fire until now, unable to stand the smell of toxic smoke, manypeople have had to send their children to other places to safeguard theirhealth. Adults in the home must also wear a mask and close the doors andwindows. Near the smoking mountains of garbage, some companies have to allow workersto 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 establishedfor generations. Because of their unique nature, they are high producers ofpollution. These crafts flourish here because of the proximity to the nearbyforests of quality hardwood. Making incense is a very meticulous job andrequires the ingenuity of the craftsman. The raw materials for making incenseare only acacia powder, sawdust, coal dust and aromatic powder, but must bemixed in such proportions so that when burning the incense, it will quicklycatch fire, give off the scent and be permanent. Unfortunately, it alsoproduces the microscopic pollutant which is PM2.5.
Air monitoring results in January 2018 showed that the concentrations of monitoringparameters of carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphurdioxide (SO2), ozone (O3), lead, PM2.5 and PM10 dust atmost monitoring points are below the acceptable standard threshold. Air pollution is mainly dust pollution atintersections. Compared with monitoring results from December 2017, the figuresshowed that dust in rural and urban areas increased from between 1.3 and 4.7times; intersections increased between 1.4 and 3.7 times; and a stableindustrial sector, the highest growth rate of 2.7 times at the location of the WimbledonCompany, located on Road No. 22, Song Than II Industrial Park. Compared to thesame period from the previous year, dust concentration increased in mostlocations in rural and urban areas from between 1.3 to 2.9 times, only at theintersection of Ong Cu Temple and Ong Cau Crossroads was the increase muchhigher 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 difficultieswhilst exercising or following outdoor pursuits. The risk to your healthdepends on several conditions such as the pollutant type and concentration andthe 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 towork harder in order to maintain the required level of oxygen needed by thebody. 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 totake extra precautions, such as wearing a high-quality mask and all outdoorexercise must be limited until the quality improves.