Hanoi’s air pollution was recorded as the second worst in the world Wednesday morning by a global air quality watchdog.
The Real-time Air Quality Index, which compiles information from local authorities globally, ranked the city as “very unhealthy” based on data provided by the U.S. Embassy’s monitoring station.
Only India’s Varanasi ranked higher on the index.
Hanoi’s air pollution is frequently blamed on traffic congestion. It is reported to be home to 5.5 million vehicles with 700 motorbikes for each kilometer/mile of road.
A recent study from the environment ministry put Hanoi’s nitrogen dioxide levels at 1.3 times permitted levels and particulate matters, which are defined as airborne particles of less than 10 micrometers in length, at 1.4 times the limit.
High levels of smog in recent years have also made face masks a common site in the city, with carbon filter masks particularly popular.
Duc Nguyen, a 20-year-old Vietnamese photographer living in Hanoi, told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday that air pollution is a big concern for him.
“It was bad a couple of months before but its even worse now,” he said, adding that he blames the pollution on recurring health aliments.
“I feel sleepy, breathless and my muscles are tired all the time.”