There is a Vietnamese saying that translates to, “Can Tho, white rice, pure water. All who come, wish never to leave.”
Now, that fabled city is also focused on preserving the purity of its air.
Can Tho, the fourth largest city in Vietnam and the largest city in the Mekong Delta, has joined the BreatheLife campaign, determined to safeguard its air quality even as it grows and develops.
Can Tho is focused on meeting several WHO air quality guidelines for fine and very fine particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5, respectively) and other health-harmful air pollutants, including ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide, as well as climate targets as part of its support for the Paris Agreement.
To do this, the city of 1.4 million inhabitants completed its Clean Air Action Plan in 2017, working with Clean Air Asia under the Integrated Programme for Better Air Quality.
Can Tho’s air pollution reduction efforts are governed by several policies on natural resources management, environmental protection and climate change adaptation in the city.
Ongoing efforts include restricting personal transport, improving the public transportation system, encouraging biofuel use, increasing urban green coverage, and continuous air quality monitoring of some air quality indicators with one station at a traffic gateway of the city.
“These solutions have contributed to the improvement of air quality in Can Tho and are part of our current and planned efforts to avoid the same mistakes that have led to chronic problems with air pollution in so many other urban areas,” said Can Tho’s City Leader.
The city caught a glimpse of that future sans action to control air pollution. Forecasts generated in the process of developing the Clean Air Action Plan saw the level of air pollution in Can Tho increase by nearly 50 per cent in 2025 from 2015 levels.
Transportation and industrial activities are the two main emission sources, which are, accordingly, Can Tho’s priority areas for air pollution reduction and control.
Apart from previously mentioned measures, the city’s plans to reduce emissions from the transport sector include setting up new safe walking and cycling paths and strengthening periodic inspection of motor vehicles.
It has plans to enhance air quality control at source in factories in industrial zones, evaluate air pollution control technology and identify technological solutions for emission sources, improve air pollution control equipment at factories, and apply best available techniques (BATs) and best environmental practices (BEPs) for control of pollutants emission from stationary sources.
Can Tho’s plan also covers solutions for household air pollution, waste management, energy supply and agriculture.
Examples of measures in these areas include encouraging and promoting the use of low-emission stoves and fuels over more highly polluting ones; improving solid waste and dust management and calling for investment in solid waste treatment projects; implementing an energy savings programme in households and supporting preliminary energy audits for companies; and reducing agricultural waste burning and greenhouse gas emissions from wet rice paddy.
Can Tho hopes for global guidance and support to implement its Clean Air Action Plan. In particular, it seeks support in the following key areas:
Strengthening collaboration and co-ordination among relevant sectors in the implementation of Can Tho’s Clean Air Action Plan;
• Applying comprehensive solutions for reduction of health impacts from air pollution;
• Getting sufficient funding for implementation of the action plan;
• Getting good guidance and advice from different organization and parties;
• Setting up a good monitoring and evaluation system and process for air quality.
BreatheLife welcomes Can Tho as it embarks on its clean air and health journey.
Follow Can Tho’s clean air journey here.