Air Quality Best on Record in September

  • By Kim Eun-gyeong

    October 05, 2021 10:22

    The air quality in the Seoul area was at the best on record in September partly thanks to reduced operation of coal-fired power plants in China.

    According to the Seoul Metropolitan Government on Monday, the average concentration of ultrafine dust particles or PM 2.5 was just 7 ㎍/㎥ in September, the lowest monthly level since observations began in 2014. The previous lowest level was 10 ㎍/㎥ in September 2018.

    The concentration of fine dust particles (PM 10) was 15 ㎍/㎥ on average, also the lowest since records began in 1995. 

    Children have fun in the Han River Park in Seoul on Sept. 26. /Yonhap

    Across the country, the estimated average concentration of PM 2.5 in 17 cities and provinces was 8 ㎍/㎥ and that of PM 10 just 16 ㎍/㎥ last month, down about 30 percent from a year earlier, according to the Korea Environment Corporation.

    The air quality is considered good when the concentration of PM 2.5 and PM 10 is below 15 ㎍/㎥ and 30 ㎍/㎥.

    A major reason was the weather. Winds normally blow from the east in fall, so pollution in China is blown in the other direction, and a lot of fine dust from China was blown away by typhoon Chanthu, which hit Korea in mid-September, and typhoon Mindulle, which passed southeast of Japan last week, as heavy rain cleared the air.

    But air pollution also decreased due to China's recent restrictions on coal-fired power generation as a result of coal shortage.

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