January 22, 2018 13:28
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon on Sunday defended his controversial plans to combat air pollution in Seoul.
Park called a press conference and said, "We need extra measures to tackle worsening fine dust problems and should urgently enforce the odd-even car ban to reduce vehicle emissions."
One aim is to ban driving in an odd-even number plate rotation on days when smog is bad.
The ban lies outside the Seoul mayor's authority, but Park said, "We will try to revise regulations so that the Seoul mayor can implement a special order for the ban on days of severe toxic haze," which means when the density of ultrafine or PM2.5 dust particles is over 50 ㎍/㎥ for more than two days.
The press conference came amid criticism that Seoul's decision to offer free rides on public transport when smog is bad is hugely expensive and ineffective.
"It was the first time we did it, and there was no cooperation from nearby Incheon city and Gyeonggi Province," he said, and pledged to continue the policy. "We need to lower the level required for a warning to be issued."
Park said Seoul will also take other measures to tackle air pollution. Vehicles will be divided into seven groups based on CO2 emissions, and penalties will be levied if they exceed a certain level.
The city government will also invest another W460 billion to support the use of electric vehicles by 2022 (US$1=W1,067).
Critics say that most of the toxic smog is blown over from China and Park's plans are off-target.
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