The haze affected visibility so badly that vehicles on the Thang Long Highway had to turn on their headlights at 7:30 a.m.
At 8 a.m. the capital's Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded at above 200 in eight of 11 air monitoring stations in different parts of the city. The level means children, seniors and individuals with heart or lung problems should stay indoors.
Saturday is the fifth day in a row that the capital's air quality has stayed well above 200, sparking public concerns over its health implications.
High-rise buildings in Hanoi could be barely seen through the haze on Saturday morning.
Visibility remained low in many areas of the capital. In Ha Dong District of Hanoi, vision was less than 100 m, and it was 200 in Ha Nam Province, 60 km south of Hanoi.
IQAir AirVisual, a Switzerland-based air quality monitoring facility that generates data from public, ground-based and real-time monitoring stations, recorded Hanoi's AQI level at 271 on Saturday morning, making it the most polluted city in the world.
Independent air quality analysis system PamAir recorded the air quality index of staying above 200 at 40 monitoring stations throughout the city.
A woman wears a mask while walking by the Hoan Kiem (Sword) Lake in downtown Hanoi.
Many motorbike drivers wear protective masks, as seen at a red light at the corner of Nguyen Thi Minh Khai and Hai Ba Trung streets.
Health experts have urged the public, especially children, older people, pregnant women, and people with respiratory problems, to limit outdoor activities. People have also been advised to wear masks and eyeglasses to reduce exposure to pollutants.
Visitors to the capital city wear masks as they take a cyclo drive near the Hanoi Opera House.
The Vietnam Environment Administration has said that Hanoi and other parts of the northern region are in the dry season and a period of seasonal transition when air pollution is usually at its highest level of the year.
The capital city’s Long Bien Bridge on Saturday morning.
Mai Van Khiem, director of the National Center for Hydrometeorological Forecasting, said that the thick haze was not only in Hanoi on Saturday morning but also in almost all coastal provinces, the northern delta region and central provinces such as Thanh Hoa and Nghe An. He said a cold front weakening and moving to the sea and the east-southeast wind were bringing moisture into the mainland, causing this phenomenon.
A video shows Hanoi shrouded in thick haze in the morning of December 14, 2019.
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