March 04, 2019 13:56
Emergency measures to fight fine dust pollution have been in effect for four days in the Seoul metropolitan area, North Chungcheong Province and Jeolla provinces as unusually warm spring weather keeps the smog from moving on.
Meanwhile air pollution keeps drifting over from China, so the measures are likely to remain in place for another day or two.
The Environment Ministry expanded them to nine metropolitan and provincial areas on Monday. That means smog-belching trucks and old diesel vehicles will be banned from Seoul on Monday. Violators will be fined W100,000 (US$1=W1,125).
All cars from the government and public agencies will be put on a rotation of odd and even number plates.
The problem is that the government has no control over pollution drifting over from China. The atmospheric conditions in Beijing have been worsening since last week and are expected to remain bad through Monday at least, according to the China National Environmental Monitoring Center. That means westerly winds carry the smog to Korea a day or two later.
Chang Im-seok at the National Institute of Environmental Research said, "We can predict that the high level of fine dust will linger at least until Tuesday, with little winds blowing it out."
Rain fell on Jeju Island and some southern regions from Sunday night until Monday morning, but that was not enough to clear the air.
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