Hanoi to ban motorcycles within the next decade

The drastic measure is an attempt to improve air quality in Vietnam's capital

Hanoi to ban motorcycles within the next decade

VIETNAMESE AUTHORITIES have announced plans to ban motorcycles in Hanoi by 2030 in a bid to cut air pollution and improve locals' quality of life.

The country’s capital, which is home to 7.7 million people, is one of the most polluted cities in Southeast Asia. In 2016 it had the second worst air pollution in the region, beaten only by Thailand’s Saraburi and in 2017, only 38 days had air quality that was considered good by the World Health Organization.

The city is famous for its thousands of motorcycles, and it is these – together with coal-fired power plants, heavy industry, a surge in construction projects and the seasonal agricultural burning –  which authorities are blaming for the pollution.

The pollution peaks from December to February – the drier months of the year – when winds also blow dirty air from southern China across the region.

In an attempt to combat the air quality problem and boost public transport, Hanoi city council announced earlier this month that powered two-wheelers would be banned by 2030.

Other measures taken by the council include planting almost a million trees and encouraging people to switch to cleaner-burning heaters and to replace petrol with cleaner biofuel.