Anti-fine dust mea­sures to run for 3rd day

Ko­rea claims China source of fine dust; China de­nies

The Korea Times - - NATIONAL - By Kim Hyun-bin hyun­[email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

Seoul and sur­round­ing metropoli­tan ar­eas will en­act emer­gency mea­sures against fine dust for the third con­sec­u­tive day, Tues­day, as fine dust is ex­pected to reach a health haz­ard level.

This marks the first time for the emer­gency mea­sures to be taken for three days straight. Pre­vi­ously the mea­sures were is­sued for two con­sec­u­tive days, once in Jan­uary last year and an­other in March.

Ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment, the lev­els of fine dust in Seoul and sur­round­ing ar­eas were higher on Mon­day than Sun­day.

Seoul’s av­er­age level was mea­sured at 195 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­ter in the af­ter­noon, with Gangseo-gu log­ging 235.

The daily av­er­age level in Gyeonggi Prov­ince stood at 153 and In­cheon’s was 140, which were nearly six times the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion’s rec­om­mended level of 25 mi­cro­grams.

This forced lo­cal gov­ern­ments to en­force coun­ter­mea­sures which are taken when the fine dust level ex­ceeds 50 mi­cro­grams on av­er­age for two con­sec­u­tive days.

Ten cities and prov­inces is­sued the emer­gency mea­sures, in­clud­ing Bu­san, Dae­jeon, Se­jong, South and North Chungcheong prov­inces and North Je­olla Prov­ince.

Un­der the mea­sures, a com­pul­sory odd/even ve­hi­cle op­er­a­tions or­der was is­sued for state and lo­cal gov­ern­ment build­ings, re­strict­ing half of ve­hi­cles based on odd or even li­cense plate num­bers. The Seoul Metropoli­tan Gov­ern­ment closed down 433 pub­lic park­ing lots and halted op­er­a­tions of 33,000 gov­ern­ment ve­hi­cles.

In ad­di­tion, old diesel ve­hi­cles weigh­ing 2.5 tons or over, man­u­fac­tured be­fore 2005, were pro­hib­ited from en­ter­ing the cap­i­tal.

Peo­ple were wear­ing masks in the streets and re­frain­ing from out­door ac­tiv­i­ties.

Re­gard­ing the source of the fine dust, a re­port by the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Re­search said a good amount of the fine dust and air pol­lu­tion orig­i­nated from China.

The NIMR used weather planes to mea­sure fine dust lev­els in the seas east and west of the Korean Penin­sula.

“We don’t have piles of data so we can’t con­clude most of the fine dust is from China. How­ever, fine dust lev­els are much higher in the West Sea com­pared to the East Sea,” an NIMR of­fi­cial said.

Lo­cal ex­perts have said China is re­spon­si­ble for up to 50 per­cent of the fine dust in Ko­rea on a nor­mal day and 80 per­cent dur­ing se­vere days. But China has been deny­ing this, and a Chi­nese gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said dur­ing his visit to Ko­rea last month that fine dust in Seoul was gen­er­ated lo­cally, not from China.

It seems Kore­ans do not trust the Chi­nese claim. Over 5,300 pe­ti­tions have been posted on Cheong Wa Dae’s web­site last year, call­ing on the gov­ern­ment to take dras­tic mea­sures to re­duce fine dust lev­els, es­pe­cially tak­ing ac­tions to pre­vent Chi­nese dust from com­ing over.

Yon­hap

An of­fi­cial holds a sign that says “only even-num­bered cars may en­ter” in front of In­cheon City Hall, Mon­day, as the city is­sued emer­gency mea­sures against fine dust with com­pul­sory bans on ve­hi­cles with odd/even li­cense plate num­bers at pub­lic or­ga­ni­za­tions.

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