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Smoky Hanoi, The Australian Alumni spoke up


Hanoi, 21st September 2019 - The Australian alumni in Vietnam organised the seminar "Air Talk - The air around us" to give people a better understanding of the environment they live in, thereby discussing ways to protect people's health.

Mr. Michael Sadlon Aus4Skills Program Director and Ms. Dinh Thi Viet Anh Representative of Australian Embassy
Mr. Michael Sadlon - Aus4Skills Program Director and Ms. Dinh Thi Viet Anh - Representative of Australian Embassy

This event is part of a series of activities under the Australian alumni strategy in Vietnam, managed by Aus4Skills, which aim to to create a network of alumni working in the same areas to share information, strengthen understanding, and to learn from each other. The "Air Talk - The air around us" was attended by nearly 100 Australian alumni in Vietnam.

Australian alumni who are experts in the field of respiration - environment have analysed the current status and causes of air pollution in Hanoi: key factors that affect air quality, cause air pollution and health problems...

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hoang Thi Thu Huong - Senior Lecturer at Hanoi University of Technology, alumna of Adelaide University started her presentation with pictures of a grey Hanoi covered with dust and smoke – a warning sign of heavy pollution in the following days.

Dr Hoang Thi Thu Huong
Dr. Hoang Thi Thu Huong

Recent pictures of Hanoi in the presentation of Assoc Prof Dr Hoang Thi Thu Huong
Recent pictures of Hanoi in the presentation of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hoang Thi Thu Huong

It is necessary to look at the fact that human activities are the main cause of pollution: motorised vehicles (cars, trains) fuel combustion; Power generation: coal/diesel-fired plants; industrial zones: factories, mines, oil refineries; Incineration of agricultural and urban waste; Cooking, heating, lighting using polluting fuels ... The experts emphasised that the "heat inversion" phenomenon is also a contributor to air pollution. 

Assoc Prof Dr Tran Ngoc Quang introducing KOALAs environmental monitoring equipment
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Ngoc Quang introducing KOALAs environmental monitoring equipment

Some shocking statistics were revealed at the seminar: worldwide, 4.2 million deaths each year are caused by exposure to ambient air pollution; 3.8 million people die each year from exposure to kitchen smoke and dirty fuels; 91% of the world's population live in areas in which air quality exceeds WHO-guided limits. 

Doctor Vu Van Giap discussing with Australian alumni
Doctor Vu Van Giap discussing with Australian alumni

According to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vu Van Giap - General Secretary of Vietnam Respiratory Association, Deputy Director of Respiratory Center - Bach Mai Hospital; Medical Advisor at Woolcock Research Institute - University of Sydney, Sydney University alumni - air pollution is a silent killer, and a key culprit of human health problems.

Professor Guy Marks presenting at the seminar
Professor Guy Marks, University of New South Wales, Sydney South West Medical School, presenting at the seminar

Professor Guy Marks, a respiration expert at University of New South Wales, Sydney Southwestern Medical School, took the view "from science to policy, environmental impact and health protection". According to Prof. Guy Marks, prior to proposing a theme or strategy, it is necessary to ask policy-related questions; optimise research design; consult with related stakeholders...

At the seminar, Australian alumni discussed a series of issues related to air and living environment. Topics discussed ranged from interest in the KOALAs environmental monitoring equipment that is used to measure airborne indicators in the Bach Khoa area, Linh Dam (Hanoi) to measuring and analysing the air indicators upon the fire of Rang Dong Light Source and Vacuum Flask in JSC's factory.

Nearly 100 Australian alumni in Vietnam participated in the seminar
Nearly 100 Australian alumni in Vietnam participated in the seminar 

In response to the most-asked question: “What should we do when the air pollution and external dust is in an alarming condition?” Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Ngoc Quang - Chairman of the Council for Environment Science and Technology, Head of Department of Microclimate - Construction Environment, University of Civil Engineering, Queensland University - alumni advised: “Stay inside the room and close the doors; use appropriate dust filters; use ventilation equipment and smart air conditioner”...

Source: Health & Environment e-newspaper