Vietnam’s economy has produced a relentless flow of good news in recent years. Record-breaking GDP growth has helped the country climb up the global development ladder, and it’s repeatedly been declared a winner of the US-China trade war amid major shifts in production by the world’s biggest companies.     

Over the last year, corporations including Apple and Nintendo have moved part of their manufacturing to Vietnam in order to avoid tariffs imposed on exports from China, creating new jobs and boosting industrial output. The textile and apparel industries, which are well-established here, have expanded as well. Vietnam’s exports to the US grew by 27% in the first half of 2019 due to such shifts.

Increased industrial production, widespread construction and more vehicle emissions might be signs of a healthy economy, but at the cost of health problems for the people living among them.

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Michael Tatarski is a journalist based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He focuses on the environment, urban development and social issues. Find him on Twitter @miketatarski.