Environmental health impacts of mobility and transport in Hai Phong, Vietnam

  • Stijn DhondtEmail author
  • Quynh Le Xuan
  • Hieu Vu Van
  • Luc Hens
Original Paper


Traffic is an essential part of modern society and mobility is part of its socio-economic setting. However, signs of counter productivity arise as the current mobility patterns substantially affect our health, including the consequences from traffic accidents, air pollution—which causes even more victims than traffic accidents—and traffic-noise. The use of private motorised vehicles also contributes to sedentarism, climate change and psychological effects. This paper reviews these mobility related health effects and applies them to the situation in Hai Phong, a Vietnamese port-city in fast development and facing growing mobility patterns. In his Master Plan the city developed a view on its development together with the transportation infrastructure up to 2020. Together with the fast changing mobility patterns, such as a modal change from bicycles to motorcycles and cars, this lead to an increase in motorized vehicles and non-negligible environmental health risks. Applying the methodology of a Health Impact Assessment as used in previous studies the current health burden is estimated, focussing on particulate matter (PM) and noise. For PM10 1287 deaths per year were calculated for the current situation, where the estimated number of deaths by 2020 doubled up to 2741. Hospital admissions due to PM10 raised from 44,954 now to 51,467 in 2020 and for PM2.5 the restricted-activity days were calculated, accounting for 852,352 per year. For noise only calculations for the current state (2007) were performed. The total estimated DALYs due to noise was 4758.


Air pollution Particulate matter Noise Mobility Health impact assessment 



The authors wish to thank colleagues at the Institute for Marine Environment and Resources (IMER), Hai Phong, Vietnam and at the Hai Phong Centre for Environmental Monitoring (HACEM) for their data collection. Parts of this research was funded by the Flemish Community of Belgium, by the project “Integrated Mobility Planning for Hai Phong City, Vietnam”, co-financed by the European Commission’s Asia Pro Eco II programme.


  1. Anderson HR, Atkinson RW, Peacock JL et al (2004) Meta-analysis of time-series studies and panel studies of particulate matter (PM) and ozone (O3). Report of a WHO task group. WHO Regional Office for Europe, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
  2. Babisch W (2005) Traffic, noise and health. In: Nicolopoulou-Stamati P, Hens L, Howard CV (eds) Environmental health impacts of transport and mobility. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 9–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ballester F (2005) Air pollution and health. In: Nicolopoulou-Stamati P, Hens L, Howard CV (eds) Environmental health impacts of transport and mobility. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 53–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beeson WL, Abbey DE, Knutsen SF (1998) Long-term concentrations of ambient air pollutants and incident lung cancer in California adults: results from the AHSMOG Study. Environ Health Perspect 106:813–823Google Scholar
  5. Beniston M (2002) Climatic change: possible impacts on human health. Swiss Med Wkly 132(25–26):332–337Google Scholar
  6. Berglund B, Lindvall T, Schwela DH (1999) Guidelines for community noise. World Health Organization, Geneva, p 161Google Scholar
  7. Brunekreef B, Forsberg B (2005) Epidemiological evidence of effects of coarse airborne particles on health. Eur Respir J 26:309–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chen C, Arjomandi M, Balmes J et al (2007) Effects of chronic and acute ozone exposure on lipid peroxidation and antioxidant capacity in healthy young adults. Environ Health Perspect 115(12):1732–1737CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. de Hollander AEM, Melse JM, Lebret E et al (1999) An aggregate public health indicator to represent the impact of multiple environmental exposures. Epidemiology 10(5):606–617CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dora C (1999) A different route to health: implications of transport policies. BMJ 318:1686–1689Google Scholar
  11. EA E (2000) Traffic noise: exposure and annoyance. European Environment Agency, Copenhagen, p 7Google Scholar
  12. Eastwood P (2008) Particulate emissions from vehicles. Wiley, Chichester, p 493Google Scholar
  13. Fisher G, Rolfe KA, Kjellstrom T et al (2002) Health effects due to motor vehicle air pollution in New Zealand. Report to the Ministry of Transport. Ministry of Transport, Wellington, New Zealand, p 72Google Scholar
  14. Fisher G, Kjellstrom T, Kingham S et al (2007) Health and air pollution in New Zealand. Final report. Ministry of Transport, Wellington, New Zealand 184 pGoogle Scholar
  15. Forsberg B, Hansson H-C, Johansson C et al (2005) Comparative health impact assessment of local and regional particulate air pollutants in Scandinavia. Ambio 34(1):11–19Google Scholar
  16. Gryparis A, Forsberg B, Katsouyanni K et al (2004) Acute effects of ozone on mortality from the “air pollution and health: a European approach” project. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 170(10):1080–1087CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Haug T, Sostrand P, Lovik M et al (2001) Public health and air pollution. Lancet 357:71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hoek G, Brunekreef B, Goldbohm S et al (2002) Association between mortality and indicators of traffic-related air pollution in the Netherlands: cohort study. Lancet 360(9341):2403–2412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. ITF (2008) Transport and energy: the challenge of climate change. Research findings. International Transport Forum, Leipzig/ParisGoogle Scholar
  20. Jerrett M, Finkelstein M (2005) Geographies of risk in studies linking chronic air pollution exposure to health outcomes. J Toxicol Environ Health 68:1207–1242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jerrett M, Burnett R, Ma R et al (2005) A cohort study of air pollution and mortality in Los Angeles. Epidemiology 16(6):727–736CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jerrett M, Newbold K, Burnett RT et al (2007) Geographies of uncertainty in the health benefits of air quality improvements. Stoch Environ Res Risk Assess 21:511–522CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Katsouyanni K (2003) Ambient air pollution and health. Br Med Bull 68:143–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kempen EEMM, Kruize H, Boshuizen HC et al (2002) The association between noise exposure and blood pressure and ischaemic heart disease: a meta-analysis. Environ Health Perspect 110(3):307–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kloeden CN, McLean et al (1997) Travelling speed and the risk of crash involvement, vol 1: findings. Report CR 172. Federal Office of Road Safety FORS, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  26. Knol AB, Staatsen BAM (2005) Trends in the environmental burden of disease in the Netherlands, 1980–2020. RIVM, Bilthoven, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  27. Kopits E, Cropper M (2005) Traffic fatalities and economic growth. Accid Anal Prev 37:169–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Krzyzanowski M (1997) Methods of assessing the extent of exposure and effects of air pollution. Occup Environ Med 54:145–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kuhl D, Cooper C (1992) Physical activity at 36 years: patterns and childhood predictors in a longitudinal study. J Epidemiol Community Health 46:114–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Künzli N, Kaiser R, Medina S et al (2000) Public-health impact of outdoor and traffic-relayed air pollution: a European assessment. Lancet 356:795–801CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lewis AC, Lewis M (2001) Public health and air pollution. Lancet 357:70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mathers C, Vos T, Stevenson C (1999) The burden of disease and injury in Australia. Report of Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (Report AIHW cat. No. PHE 17), CanberraGoogle Scholar
  33. McDonnell W, Abbey A, Nishino N et al (1999) Long-term ambient ozone concentration and the incidence of asthma in nonsmoking adults the Ahsmog study. Environ Res 80:110–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Medina S, Plasència A, Artazcoz L et al (2005) APHEIS, health impact assessment of air pollution and communication strategy. Third Year Report. Institut de Veille Sanitaire, Saint-Maurice; 232 blzGoogle Scholar
  35. Miedema HME, Oudshoorn CGM (2001) Annoyance form transportation noise: relationships with exposure metrics DNL ans DENL and their confidence intervals. Environ Health Perspect 109:4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Moshammer H, Martin-Diener E, Mäder U et al (2005a) Sedentarism. In: Nicolopoulou-Stamati P, Hens L, Howard CV et al (eds) Environmental health impacts of transport and mobility. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 135–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Moshammer H, Hutter HP, Schmidt L (2005b) Psychological and social aspects of “transport and health”. In: Nicolopoulou-Stamati P, Hens L, Howard CV (eds) Environmental health impacts of transport and mobility. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 39–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Murray JLM, Lopez AD (eds) (1996) The global burden of disease: a comprehensive assessment of mortality and disability from diseases, injuries, and risk factors in 1990 and projected to 2020. Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, p 990Google Scholar
  39. Nel A (2005) Atmosphere. Air Pollution-related illness: effects of particles. Science 308(5723):804–806CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Olson LW, Boison K (2005) Health impact and control of particulate matter. In: Nicolopoulou-Stamati P, Hens L, Howard CV (eds) Environmental health impacts of transport and mobility. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 115–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Passchier-Vermeer W, Passchier WF (2000) Noise exposure and public health. Environ Health Perspect 108:123–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Passchier-Vermeer W, Passchier WF (2005) Environmental noise, annoyance and sleep disturbance. In: Nicolopoulou-Stamati P, Hens L, Howard CV (eds) Environmental health impacts of transport and mobility. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 25–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Pickup L, Giuliano G (2005) Transport and social exclusion in Europe and the USA. In: Donaghy K et al (eds) Social dimensions of sustainable transport. Ashgate, Aldershot, pp 38–49Google Scholar
  44. Pope AC III, Burnett R, Thun M et al (2002) Lung cancer, cardiopulmonary mortality and long-term exposure to fine particulate air pollution. JAMA 287(9):1132–1141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Roussou T, Behkaris P (2005) The respiratory effects of air pollution. In: Nicolopoulou-Stamati P, Hens L, Howard CV (eds) Environmental health impacts of transport and mobility. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 79–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sarnat S, Brent C, Schwartz J et al (2006) Factors affecting the association between ambient concentrations and personal exposures to particles and gases. Environ Health Perspect 114(5):649–654CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Schwarze PE, Øvrevik J, Låg M et al (2006) Particulate matter properties and health effects: consistency of epidemiological and toxicological studies. Hum Exp Toxicol 25:559–579CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Stassen K, Collier P, Torfs R (2008) The environmental burden of disease due to transportation noise in Flanders. HUB research paper, Hogeschool—Universiteit Brussel, 2008/04Google Scholar
  49. Steg L, Gifford R (2005) Sustainable transportation and quality of life. J Transp Geogr 13:59–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Streeton JA (1997) A review of existing health data on six air pollutants. A report to the National Environment Council. Melbourne, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  51. Sunyer J, Spix C, Quénel P et al (1997) Urban air pollution and emergency admissions for asthma in four European cities: the APHEA project. Thorax 52:760–765CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. TCVN 5937 (2005) Air quality—ambient air quality standards, VietnamGoogle Scholar
  53. TE DOS (2003) Hai Phong environmental protection master plan. Department of Sciences, Technology and Environment, Hai Phong, VietnamGoogle Scholar
  54. Torfs R (2003) Kwantificering van gezondheidsrisico’s aan de hand van DALYs en externe gezondheidskosten, study executed under authority of the Flemish Environment Agency, MechelenGoogle Scholar
  55. Van de Kassteele J, Koelemeijer R, Dekkers A et al (2006) Statistical mapping of PM10 concentrations over Western Europe using secondary information from dispersion modelling and MODIS satellite observations. Stoch Environ Res Risk Assess 21:183–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Vietnam Government (2006) Decision No. 271/2006/QD-TTg of November 27, 2006 approving the adjusted and supplemented master plan on socio-economic development of Hai Phong city up to 2020Google Scholar
  57. WHO (2000a) Transport, environment and health. WHO regional publications. European series; No. 89Google Scholar
  58. WHO (2000b) Air quality guidelines for Europe. World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen, p 273Google Scholar
  59. WHO (2000c) Evaluation and use of epidemiological evidence for environmental health risk assessment. WHO Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen, p 35Google Scholar
  60. WHO (2004) World report on road traffic injury prevention: summary. World Health Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  61. WHO (2005a) Health effects of transport related air pollution. WHO Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen, p 199Google Scholar
  62. WHO (2005b) The effects of air pollution on children’s health and development: a review of the evidence. European Centre for Environment and Health, Bonn, p 191Google Scholar
  63. WHO (2006) WHO Air quality guidelines for particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide. Global update 2005. World Health organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  64. WHO (2008) Air Quality and Health. Fact sheet. WHO media centre, (

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stijn Dhondt
    • 1
    Email author
  • Quynh Le Xuan
    • 1
  • Hieu Vu Van
    • 1
  • Luc Hens
    • 1
  1. 1.Human Ecology DepartmentVrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)BrusselsBelgium

Personalised recommendations