In Vietnam, where economic growth continues, air pollution caused by exhaust gas from automobiles, factories, construction projects has become a serious problem.
Though the sources of the pollution differ depending on the region, in most urban areas, automobiles are the main source of air pollution. Specifically, carbon monoxide (CO) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) emitted from automobiles are major air pollutants in the country. Nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) are also major pollutants. NOx is emitted mainly from the transportation and the industrial sectors, and SO2 is emitted from the industrial sector. In areas close to mines, the dust produced by the mining activities is also a problem. Air pollution caused by these causes has had serious adverse impacts on the citizens health and the environment. The state authorities are taking measures against air pollution such as monitoring air pollutants, tightening regulations, and strengthening crackdowns.
The Vietnam Environment Agency (VEA) of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) has revealed that a survey conducted by several researchers on below listed industrial zones and park in four provinces/city has revealed that the air in such industrial zones/park are highly polluted. This aim of the survey was to precisely evaluate the level of exhaust gas pollution from factories at industrial zones.
- Bac Ninh Province, Phong Ke and Ma Ong Dinh Bang Industrial Zones
- Thua Thien Hue Province, Thuy Phuong Industrial Zone
- Binh Duong Province, Go Da Trang Industrial Park
- Ho Chi Minh City, Le Minh Xuan Industrial Zone
Given such a context, the Prime Minister’s Decision approving the national action plan on air quality management up to 2020, with a vision toward 2025 (No. 985a/QD-TTg) was promulgated on June 1, 2016. The Decision aimed to improve the air quality and to protect the public health by strengthening air quality control through controlling sources of exhaust gas and observing/monitoring the air quality. This Decision specifically stipulates the prioritized programs and projects, competent authorities, and time frame to achieve the goal. The Decision consists of seven major pillars as follows:
- Enactment of laws, regulations and policies regarding air quality management
- Updating and/or improving industrial exhaust gas treatment equipment and manufacturing processes to minimize generation of exhaust gas
- Investing in automated exhaust gases monitoring equipment, air quality monitoring equipment, and data transfer systems for industrial emissions
- Publicizing the information on air quality by creating database on industrial exhaust gases
- Strengthening the air pollution control in the field of transportation sector
- Research and development of science and technology for air quality management
- Diversification of financial resources for air quality control
Vietnamese government has tackled these issues related to air pollution from two different aspects: fixed pollutant sources and mobile ones. As a course of such efforts, many laws and regulations have been enacted to achieve the goals.
Overview of laws and regulations on air
In Vietnam, there are no laws specializing in air pollution. Air pollution control is performed based on the Law on Environmental Protection (55/2014/QH13). This law is a fundamental environment law of the country. It stipulates the principles for environmental control in diverse fields and air pollution is one of the important target fields. This Law prohibits to discharge wastes that do not meet the relevant environmental standards or hazardous substances on air (Article 7 of Law on Environmental Protection). The Law also prohibits to emit any gas containing toxic agents or smells into the air (Article 7). In addition, Chapter 6 (Articles 52 to 64) of this Law stipulates environmental protection for water, land, and air. The Section 4 of Chapter 6 (Articles 62 to 64), which targets air, stipulates provisions on monitoring of air quality and control measures for air pollution. Based on this Law, all waste gases discharged into the aerial environment must be assessed and controlled; and organizations or individuals involving in the harmful gas emission must reduce such waste gas to meet the standards stipulated by laws (Article 62). In particular, establishments that emit a large amount of industrial waste gases must register their polluting sources and other information and set up database that includes the amount, characteristics and properties of waste emission. They also must install automatic and non-stop waste-gas monitoring equipment and must be licensed by the competent authority (Article 64).
Law on Environmental Protection (No. 55/2014/QH13)
- Decree on the management of wastes and scraps (No. 38/2015/ND-CP)
- Decree on amending some decrees to implement the Law on environmental protection
- National Technical Regulation on Ambient Air Quality (QCVN 05:2013/BTNMT)
- National technical regulation on hazardous substances in ambient air (QCVN 06:2009/BTNMT)
- National Technical Regulation on Industrial Emission of Inorganic Substances and Dusts (QCVN 19:2009/BTNMT)
- National Technical Regulation on Industrial Emission of Organic Substances (QCVN 20:2009/BTNMT)
- National Technical Regulation on Emissionof Chemical Fertilizer Manufacturing Industry (QCVN 21:2009/BTNMT)
- National Technical Regulation on Emission of Thermal Power industry (QCVN 22:2009/BTNMT)
- National Technical Regulation on Emission of Cement Manufacturing Industry (QCVN 23:2009/BTNMT)
- National technical Regulation on Emission of Refining and Petrochemical Industry of Inorganic Substances and Dusts (QCVN 34:2010/BTNMT)
- National Technical Regulation on Emission of Steel Industry (QCVN 51:2013/BTNMT)
- National Technical Regulation on Emission of Industrial Waste Incinerator (QCVN 30:2012/BTNMT)
- National Technical Regulation on Emission of Solid Health Care Waste Incinerator (QCVN 02:2012/BTNMT)