Smog begins to blanket Saigon as air pollution soars

Thanh Nien News

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The view of Nguyen Tat Thanh Street in District 4 is obscured in the morning of October 6, 2015. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre/Tien Long The view of Nguyen Tat Thanh Street in District 4 is obscured in the morning of October 6, 2015. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre/Tien Long

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Smog has been spotted at many places across Ho Chi Minh City in recent mornings and a weather expert says worsening air pollution is to blame. 
The thick blanket of smoke and fog was most noticeable in Districts 1, 2, 4, 9 and Binh Thanh, where drivers on several streets said they had difficulties seeing vehicles in front of them and had to keep honking. 
A xe om motorbike taxi driver in District 1 told Tuoi Tre newspaper that he first saw some smog on Monday, but it became thicker on Tuesday morning and refused to clear until after 10 a.m. 
Owner of a coffee shop in Binh Thanh District said the smog on Tuesday morning was so thick she could not see people from ten meters away.
“It looks like Da Lat,” she said, referring to Vietnam’s Central Highlands town known as Little Paris where it is almost always cool and foggy.
Health risks
But experts said unlike the fog in Da Lat, there is nothing romantic about this. 
Dang Van Dung, deputy director of the Southern Hydro-meteorological Forecast Center, said that it was the accumulation of dust and smoke particles.  
It does not only affect visibility but can be a serious respiratory health threat, Dung said, recommending drivers to wear face masks.
He said the phenomenon will continue for several days as there’s not enough wind to disperse the smog.
He said the possibility of HCMC being affected by cloying smoke generated by forest fires in Indonesia is not ruled out. 
He said smog began to appear in the city two years ago, warning that it will get worse if the city fails to reduce emissions.
Smog has also occurred at several other southern provinces with robust industrial activities, he said.
Smog seen on Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street on Tuesday morning. Photos: Tien Long/Tuoi Tre
Smog on the Saigon River
The view of District 2 from District 1 across the Saigon River on Tuesday morning.

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