|Hanoians buy masks to cope with air pollution
Dao Thi Phuong in Kim Giang Ward, Hanoi, said her family used to use the disposable thin masks. However, as the air pollution worsens, she opted to another kind of masks in order to prevent the fine dust. The new mask cost VND55,000 each and can only be used for several times.
"It can't be washed for reuse. I had just spent VND2m (USD86) to buy 40 masks for my family but we used them up in a month," she said.
Bui Thanh Tam from Ha Dong District had also bought new masks for the whole family to prevent fine dust. She also bought an air purifier at home.
"I travel over 10km a day to go to work. It's impossible to breathe when going outside. I found various types of masks on the internet. I did question their quality but I have no other choices then, regular masks can't prevent fine dust," she said.
On the internet, some masks are advertised to be able to prevent over 95% of the fine dust. The price also varies from VND25,000 (USD1) to VND100,000. Some high-end product cost up to VND950,000 to 1,200,000 each mask.
Le Van Quynh, an online seller, said fine dust masks started selling well over ten days ago. His customers often buy masks in bulk for longer use.
"Each day I sell 700-800 masks. Some days, I sold over 1,000 masks," he said. "Today, I already sold out masks for children."
Another seller, Ha Kieu Giang, said she had 3,000 masks in her inventory and planned to sell them for a long time. But it was sold out in over a week. Giang's masks can also only be used for three to four times so her customers bought the masks in buls.
Hanoi and HCM City have been named among the top three cities with the most serious air pollution in the world according to the air quality index (AQI) ranking by Air Visual.
The air quality index over 100 is considered bad and people with respiratory and heart diseases are advised to stay home. If the index increased to over 150, all citizens are affected. The index in Hanoi and HCM City are over 160 and sometimes reached 200.