Toxic Haze Returns

      November 25, 2013 09:10

      A thick haze from China blanketed Baenknyeong Island just off the western coast of Korea and blew into Seoul on Sunday carried by westerly winds.

      This month coal use has surged to heat homes in the world's most populous country, causing the concentration of ultrafine particles to surge to 461㎍/㎥ near Mt. Tai in Shandong Province just across the West Sea.

      That is more than nine times the acceptable limit in Korea of 50㎍/㎥.

      From left, Mt. Tai in China and Baeknyeong Island and Seoul in Korea blanketed by haze on Saturday.

      All of Baeknyeong Island was covered in haze. The concentration of fine particles on the island hit 211㎍/㎥, while ultrafine particles surged to 148㎍/㎥, the highest levels so far this year.

      The smog worsened in Seoul on Sunday morning as the winds continued to blow in from China. The concentration of ultrafine particles in the capital surged to 165㎍/㎥.

      Ahn Joon-young at the National Institute of Environmental Research warned that a "cocktail" of dust and toxic particles from China could blow over into the Korean Peninsula "at any time" and predicted the phenomenon will become more frequent. He called for more research on how to deal with the toxic haze.

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