Clean air in Hanoi, Johannesburg and Pretoria

Project description

Title: Integrated Air Quality Management and Climate Change Mitigation within the framework of the World Bank’s Pollution Management and Environmental Health (PMEH) Programme
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)
Country: South Africa and Viet Nam
Overall term: 2017 to 2020

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than seven million people worldwide die each year as a result of air pollution, many of them in emerging economies and developing countries. This is the case, for example, in Viet Nam’s capital city of Hanoi and in the South African cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria (Tshwane). Air pollution in these cities has various sources, but most of the pollutants come from combustion processes in road traffic, industrial plants and power stations, and from private households. Particulate matter, which is defined as particles with a diameter of no more than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5), is considered to pose the greatest problem. It leads to respiratory disorders, for example, and an increased risk of heart attack, miscarriages and cancer. 

At the same time, short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) such as particulate matter, methane and ozone also have an impact on climate change. Reducing them is therefore beneficial not only for people’s health, but also for climate change mitigation. Recent studies show that the only way to succeed in limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is to simultaneously combat the increase in carbon dioxide and the increase in SLCPs. Accordingly, air pollution control is now also taken into account when establishing nationally determined contributions (NDCs). 


The city administrations of Johannesburg, Pretoria (Tshwane) and Hanoi are implementing effective air pollution control plans and measures and are thus improving air quality in their cities.



The project is analysing the training requirements of employees at city environmental authorities who deal with air quality in Hanoi, Johannesburg and Pretoria. Based on the analyses, appropriate training courses are being designed and held. 

The project is also supporting the expansion of urban monitoring networks. Using the data collected by these networks, air pollution control plans and emission inventories are being drawn up and updated. The project is supporting specific initial measures aimed at improving air quality as well as public communication within the cities. Public relations work is taking place via social media and in schools and townships. The city administrations are providing information about air quality and its effects, one of the aims being to increase each individual person’s scope for action. 

The project is supporting all three cities in maintaining their online information platforms and making them more user-friendly. It is also defining cost-effective methods for reducing emissions, ensuring they are tailored to the local situation and easy to implement. To do this it is using the evaluation tool LEAP-IBC (Long-range Energy Alternative Planning – Integrated Benefits Calculator), developed and made available by the project’s cooperation partner, the Stockholm Environment Institute. This tool gives clear indications of what steps can be taken to reduce emissions, what positive effects they may have and how much they will cost.

The project is also helping the Environment Ministry in Viet Nam to review the national environmental protection law.


Additional information