Vietnam Warns People to Avoid Outdoors as Smog Blankets Hanoi

(Bloomberg) -- A blanket of smog covering Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi is causing officials to warn residents to avoid going outside and wear protective masks.

Hanoi was listed as having the worst air globally for pollution in major cities at 2 p.m. local time, data from monitoring firm Impair Air Visual showed. The Vietnam Environment Administration attributed the increase in smog in part to farmers on the outskirts of the city burning straw.

Vietnam Warns People to Avoid Outdoors as Smog Blankets Hanoi

Southeast Asia in the past few weeks suffered from poor air quality caused by Indonesian forest fires, but hot-spots there have dwindled. Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha on Monday took to Twitter to tell people in Bangkok to wear masks if they plan to venture outside.

In Hanoi, people are advised to limit time spent outdoors as PM2.5 levels exceeded acceptable marks and are considered very unhealthy, the administration said on its website. PM2.5 refers to the tiny, toxic particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream.

The city has endured unsafe levels of pollution since September 12, according to VnExpress news website, which cited a report from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Hanoi is experiencing its highest level of fine dust since 2015, according to the ministry.

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