Taking practical actions for environment

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has selected “Air pollution and our actions” as the theme of the World Environment Day 2019 (June 5)with the aim of calling for all nations and communities to jointly carry out actions to reduce the release of harmful substances into the environment during production and business activities.

The global economy losses about US$5 trillion each year due to air pollution. (Illustrative image)
The global economy losses about US$5 trillion each year due to air pollution. (Illustrative image)

According to the UN report, around seven million people around the world die prematurely due to air pollution every year, including nearly four million people in the Asia-Pacific region. Approximately 92% of the worldpopulation do not breathe clean air while the global economy losses about US$5 trillion each year due to air pollution.

According to environmental experts, air pollution, particularly dust pollution in urban areas in Vietnam is primarily from sources of transportation, construction, industrial production, straw burning, and by-products made during agricultural production.

Notably, the monitored results in some cities in recent years have showed that the quality of air in the environment has been improving, but the dust concentration in some urban areas, especially in large urban areas still surpasses the national technical regulations (QCVN). In Hanoi, the 24-hour average concentration of PM2.5 on air quality of some days has exceeded the permitted limit of QCVN 05: 2013 issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

In order to reduce pollution, in 2016, the Prime Minister issued a national action plan on air quality management until 2020, with a vision to 2025. The aims includestrengthening the management of air quality through thecontrol of gas emission sources and monitoring air qualityto ensure good health among the general public.

However, to implement the targets set, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment should closely coordinate with relevant ministries and agencies and People's Committees at all levels to control dust during the construction process and transportation of materials as well as waste on construction sites.

It is also necessary to install and operate gas emissiontreatment systems at industrial establishments andimplement a roadmap on gas emission standards for new, assembled and imported cars and two-wheel motorbikes. State management agencies should complete legal documents on environmental protection under the 2014 Law on Environmental Protection with the focus on the management and supervision of waste sources and responsibilities of waste source owners while buildingsynchronous national technical regulations on theenvironment for gas emissions of industries.

In 2019, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has coordinated with other ministries, sectors and localities to organise campaigns to collect waste and plant trees in urban and residential areas in response to the World Environment Day, the Action Month for Environment in 2019, the Week for Vietnam Sea and Islands, and the World Ocean Day. Meanwhile,enterprises and industrial establishments in the areas of metallurgy, thermal power, and construction materials should actively apply scientific and technical advances in production in order to limit gas emissions into the environment.

Conversely, people need to accompany the state management agencies in monitoring waste sources from local production units as well as reporting violations to authorised agencies. People should restrict the discharge of waste into the environment while not using polluting fuels such as burning coal, straw and domestic waste. All people should join hands to carry out practical actions to contribute directly to reducing the source of pollutants towards securing a cleaner environment for future generations.