Modelling the Impact of Air Pollution and Climate Change on Public Health in Ho Chi Minh City Policy Making and Awareness Creation using Machine Learning

The HealthyAIR project seeks to examine air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and the resulting health issues in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). The two year project started in June 2020, and ultimately aims to aid in the development of policy to reduce air pollution and improve population health.

Vietnam as a country is facing increases in air pollution, particularly in the megacities of Hanoi and HCMC. While several studies of air pollution in HCMC have been conducted, there is a lack of real time, high resolution and high quality data. Currently there is only 1 real time air monitoring device in HCMC. This project will install 6 such devices which will significantly enhance the understanding and visibility of air pollution patterns and sources. We will model air pollution to understand its temporal dependency on time of year. We will identify how traffic, industrial, residential and biogenic emission sources contribute to overall pollution levels.

After collecting and analyzing the air pollution data, we will then analyze the impact that air pollution has on public health by correlating pollution levels with mortality records. We will then develop machine learning models to predict air pollution levels in short, medium and long term timescales in HCMC. These predictions, in conjunction with the public health analysis will make a strong case for the development of new air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions policy. We will liaise with key policy makers in Vietnam to develop and implement these changes. A mobile app will be developed to enable the public to know pollution levels, both current and forecasted.

The learnings in this project will be far reaching, shedding light on air pollution in megacities. This project addresses the priority areas aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and is funded by the Irish Research Council and the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ireland through the COALESCE call (Better World Awards 2020) for reducing humanitarian need, climate action and strengthening governance. In addition, it will foster international collaboration, build research capacity and engage the public.

The project is a collaboration between CeADAR, Ireland’s Centre for Applied Artificial Intelligence, based in University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland and the Vietnam National University (VNU) in Ho Chi Minh City through the Institute for Environment and Resources and the School of of Economics and Law.