Indonesian forest fires creating haze in Saigon?

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For those living in Saigon the last several years, it is becoming a norm to deal with rising air pollution as Autumn arrives. This year, in particular, the levels of PM 2.5 have risen significantly with a thick haze that covers the city all day. This haze started to show up last Friday in Saigon. With the haze came higher levels of PM 2.5.

Normally with a rise in PM 2.5, factories, transportation, and restaurants would get the blame. This year is a bit different since the levels raised earlier then normal. One culprit of this are the current Indonesian forest fires. Every year Singaporeans and Malaysians, as well Indonesians, have to deal with the forest fires that spread across Indonesia. Kuala Lumpur had to deal with AQIs in the 300s. Singapore was near the 200s. Both readings are not healthy and requires use of masks and air purifiers.

Current AQI reading for Kuala Lumpur.
Current AQI reading of Singapore

Is Saigon and southern Vietnam affected?

There will be skeptics who do not believe that the haze, smoke and accompanying PM 2.5 can make it to Vietnam from Indonesia. AirVisual’s mapping of the PM 2.5 may change your mind. Below are the AQI maps for the last three days. You can see Ho Chi Minh City at the top middle part of the map.

Sept. 20, 2019, AQI reading for Southeast Asia (Source: AirVisual)
Sept. 21, 2019, AQI reading for Southeast Asia (Source: AirVisual)
Sept. 23, 2019, AQI reading for Southeast Asia (Source: AirVisual)

You can see the affects the Indonesian forest fires are having in the region. The same winds blowing the haze over Malaysia and Singapore are also sending them to Vietnam (Similarly you can check the AQI maps for Hanoi and notice the air pollution moving south from China). Currently the winds are moving to the northeast which is blowing the haze south of Saigon. Still, as you can see from the map, there is still a lot of PM 2.5 in the region.

It is interesting to note that a local meteorologist denied that the Indonesia forest fires were having any affects on the levels of PM 2.5 in Saigon and southern Vietnam. In 2015, the Indonesian fires were the source of the haze in Saigon. Tuoi Tre even reported about it as well blaming the smog on the Indonesian fires. In 2017, Saigon experienced some bad haze and I am curious to see if that was caused by the Indonesian fires as well.

Wear a Mask, Get an Air Purifier

When the PM 2.5 levels are high, you will need to wear a mask outside. You also need an air purifier for indoors. SmartAir offers DIY air purifiers you can order from China. GoodAir is offering their DIY model in Hanoi now.

Stay Healthy. Breath Clean Air.

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