An indicator indicating air quality which is attended by the community over the last few days. But you’re sure you got it right?

WHAT IS AQI?

AQI (Air Quality Index) is an index for reporting daily air quality. It tells you how clean or polluted ( the air you breathe is ) and what associated health effects might be a concern for you. The AQI focuses on health effects you may experience within a few hours or days after breathing polluted air. Think of the AQI as a yardstick that runs from 0 to 500. The higher the AQI value, the greater the level of air pollution and the greater the health concern. To make it easier to understand, the AQI is divided into six categories:

Note: Members of sensitive groups include babies and children, older people and some people suffering from diseases related to the respiratory or cardiovascular systems.

HOW TO FOLLOW THE AQI?

There are a lot of reliable websites and apps that everyone can access to monitor the air quality such as http://aqicn.org/map/vietnam/, https://www.airvisual.com/ (website) or Air Quality, AirVisual Air Quality Forecast (apps). They clearly update the air quality, weather forecast and temperature daily, hourly, monthly and even yearly. CHANGE will guide you how to follow the air quality index where you are living:

Step 1: Follow the link to https://www.airvisual.com/ and search the location you want to update in the “Search” box.

Step 2: Follow the AQI as the below picture:

You can also evaluate the extension of PM2.5 influence on people’s health by visibility:

  • 5-10 km: No action required.
  • 3-5 km: Reduce outdoor activities.
  • 2-3 km: Reduce outdoor activities, especially for respiratory patients, wear a mask outdoors; stop outdoor physical exercise.
  • < 2 km: Avoid all outdoor activities, especially for respiratory patients; however if outside wear a mask.

IS PM2.5 DANGEROUS?

PM2.5 stands for Particulate Matter 2.5 – particles are smaller than 2.5 micrometers (a fraction of the width of a human hair). Even though super tiny, colourless, odourless and invisible to the eye, are they… HARMLESS? Owing to their minute size, particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers are able to bypass the nose and throat and penetrate deep into the lungs and some may even enter the circulatory system. Studies have found a close link between exposure to fine particles and premature death from heart and lung disease. Fine particles are also known to trigger or worsen chronic diseases such as asthma, heart attacks, bronchitis and other respiratory problems.

WHERE DOES PM2.5 COME FROM?

According to Blissair, fine particles can come from various sources. They include power plants, motor vehicles, airplanes, residential wood burning, forest fires, agricultural burning, volcanic eruptions and dust storms. In recent years, we have frequently experienced the phenomenon called “Fog City” in Ho Chi Minh City. This phenomenon is due to the increase in dust concentration outdoors. The air is dimmed and the visibility will be reduced to look like fog. The main causes are the emissions from personal vehicles and construction processes.

TAKE ACTION

At 12:17 pm on 20 September 2019, Vietnam was ranked 12th in the ranking of countries with the most polluted air in the world. In Ho Chi minh City, the AQI was 168 and the PM2.5 was 88.2 which exceeded 6 times the safety threshold for human health. This is an emergency siren indicating air pollution in living areas, especially urban.

Everyone should raise awareness about air pollution in their living area by changing little by little daily habits such as using public transportation, cycling or walking instead of using polluting personal vehicles. Turning off motorcycles when waiting at red lights for more than 25 seconds, not smoking in public, and not burning trash.

CHANGE believes that if everyone takes action, every single day we can not change air pollution immediately, but if a community joins hands to take a lot of action day today, we could save a “clean air, blue sky”.

Click the link to do the air pollution awareness survey: http://bit.ly/airexamine

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