China Accepts Responsibility for Toxic Haze

  • By Kim Hyo-in

    November 21, 2019 13:05

    A team of researchers from South Korea, China and Japan have discovered that more than 30 percent of ultrafine dust (PM 2.5) in South Korea is carried over from China.

    This is the first time China has accepted responsibility after years of denial.

    The National Institute of Environmental Research detailed the findings in a report that all three countries signed off on. The report was released Wednesday ahead of a trilateral environment ministers' meeting on Saturday, raising hopes of increased cross-border cooperation in fighting toxic emissions. 

    But skeptics point out that the three countries arrived at the figures by simply averaging out all their individual estimates for major cities, rather than checking the figures independently.

    Subject to analysis were three Korean cities (Seoul, Busan and Daejeon), six Chinese cities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Qingdao, Shenyang and Dalian), and three Japanese cities (Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka).

    Also, data from December to March, when toxic haze is at its worst, were left out of the analysis.

    According to the report, China was the source of 32.1 percent of ultrafine dust in Korea in 2017, while 51.2 percent came from Korea itself and 1.5 percent from Japan. The remaining 15.2 percent came from Mongolia, North Korea and Southeast Asia.

    In China, 91 percent of ultrafine dust was deemed to come from within the country itself, while South Korea accounted for 1.9 percent and Japan 0.8 percent.

    In Japan, the report says 55.4 percent was self-generated while 24.6 percent came from China and 8.2 percent from Korea. 

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