Air Pollution Kills More in N.Korea Than Almost Anywhere Else

  • By Hong Jun-ki

    May 29, 2019 10:53

    North Korea has the highest death rate from air pollution in the world apart from some Middle Eastern and African countries.

    Some 207.2 people per every 100,000 North Koreans died from ambient particulate air pollution in North Korea in 2016, according to an estimate released by the World Health Organization on Tuesday.

    That was the highest rate in the world after Afghanistan and some Middle Eastern and African countries where about 200 to 300 per 100,000 population died from air pollution, but worse than Nepal (193.8 deaths per 100,000) and India (184.3). In South Korea it was only 20.5.

    The death rate was worse among North Korea's poor, according to the WHO because their indoor and outdoor air is more easily polluted as a result of their use of low-quality fuel.

    Most of North Korea's antiquated coal-fired power plants have no emissions treatment at all and just belch dirty coal dust into the atmosphere, except one near the capital Pyongyang.

    Environment Minister Cho Myung-rae here said in March, "We believe that a lot" of South Korea's air pollution "blew in from North Korea at times of high fine dust levels."

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