Chinese Fireworks Blamed for Korean Smog

  • By Jung Ji-sup, Choi Won-woo

    March 07, 2019 13:19

    Massive fireworks across China during the Lantern Festival last month were a major cause of surging ultrafine dust pollution in Korea, a study suggests. The festival happens on the 15th day of the first month of lunar year.

    The Seoul Research Institute of Public Health and Environment said Wednesday, "Pollutants emitted by fireworks in Beijing were carried by northwesterly winds into Korea and remained here. Ultrafine dust that blanketed Korea since last week appears to have been caused by substances sourced to the fireworks."

    In March last year, the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science published a study showing that fireworks detonated during China's spring festival caused ultrafine dust levels to soar in Korea.

    Commuters wear masks in Seoul on Wednesday as smog blankets the capital. /Yonhap

    Analysis of data collected from 25 measuring stations from Feb. 20-22 showed 11.1 times higher levels of strontium than usual. Also, magnesium levels were 4.5 times higher than usual and valium levels were 4.1 times higher. All are main components of gunpowder and matches.

    Meanwhile, air pollution slightly dissipated here on Thursday thanks to snow or rainfall in some regions including Gyeonggi Province, North Chungcheong and North Gyeongsang provinces.

    But only around 5 mm of rain fell, which is not enough to clear the skies entirely. Experts say at least 10 mm of rain must fall for more than two hours to cause fine dust to disappear.

    Ultrafine dust levels are expected to rise again on Friday as the mercury rises and last until Saturday.

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