Sunrise in Cat Ba                                  Lake Sunset in West Lake, Hanoi

Many parts of Vietnam are beautiful – 3444 km from the coast of the country, which runs along the east side of the country for 3444 km and which does not include the islands [i] . This is the land where my parents came from and where they lived during their childhood. It was a place that provided them with their childhood life. Although life was much simpler back then, Vietnam is trying to pursue a better life. Vietnam is desperately developing everywhere they can so that they can move the GDP ladder to compete with the rest of the world and a price [ii] . Living amidst this development scene, it is not hard to see the local Vietnamese face every day.

O ne of the biggest problems that exist in Vietnam, at least from what is pollution. Air pollution is the most obvious factor, transportation [iii] . Hanoi is simply too crowded with many streets, lots of people, cars and many, many motorbikes. Within Hanoi, motorbike is the easiest way to travel to and from its size and mobility. However, the city is small compared to where I came from, Toronto. Yet, they are not so good and they are not suitable for walking, they use their motorbikes to travel everywhere they go. For someone like me who thinks it is over, it would be impossible to say that it is unbelievable because it is so far away. This has resulted in increasing numbers of motorbikes and has already made the condition worse.

      Traffic during my ride home.

While transportation is one of the biggest factors, many other actions that the locals also affect the amount of air pollution that is emitted. It seems that some of the locals have a habit of dealing with their own trash rather than letting the city take the garbage. These people do so by burning it. Food waste, construction waste and even plastic waste, everything is set on fire in open air, letting the fumes fly into the sky.


Burning waste near my apartment and another site seen during one of my nightly walks.

Combining air pollution is critical in Hanoi, Vietnam, and it is a threat to human health [iv] . Fortunately, these problems are being slowly tackled in Vietnam through the efforts of the local government and NGOs, like my organization. Difficultly, my organization attempts to tackle air pollution from all possible areas, from education to businesses. Through informing and engaging the locals to participate in a clean city, it will be able to foster a new way of life for the future generation. Vietnam, in particular Hanoi is achievable. Small steps have been made to attract the public’s attention to the social media and events, schools have begun to include pollution in the curriculum, but the progress has not been significant. However, this is coming from a perspective that has come into the world of pollution. By switching perspectives and thinking in an international developing mind, these changes and implementations are not useless. Although the goal seems impossible to reach, the reality is that the process is only slow and difficult, but definitely not impossible. 

Ages of effort have been made by Vietnamese people and tackling air pollution is only another step in their path in becoming a developed, yet still beautiful country.