Fine Dust Haze Dwindles Thanks to Cleanup Efforts in China, Korea

  • By Park Sang-hyun

    June 03, 2022 13:17

    Korea's air quality has improved this year thanks to cleanup efforts in both China and Korea, especially of coal and diesel emissions.
    According to the National Air Emission Inventory and Research Center on Thursday, the average level of ultrafine particles across the country was cut to 23.3 ㎍/㎥ between last December and March this year, down from 24.4 ㎍/㎥ a year earlier.
    Ultrafine dust levels were "bad" or higher than 36㎍/㎥ for 18 days during the period, two days fewer than a year earlier. But they were "good" or lower than 15㎍/㎥ for 40 days, five days more than the previous winter.  
    This is chiefly because dust storms from China were less intense. Cleanup efforts there reduced fine dust concentration by 14 to 36 percent on-year, particularly in three regions that directly impact Korea's air quality -- Beijing, Hebei and Tianjin.
    Besides, Korea's own coal-burning power plants operated at lower capacity and the use of diesel vehicles was restricted here, cutting ultrafine dust levels by about 0.9 to 1.4 ㎍/㎥ per month. 
    But the weather was not helpful. Suffering the worst winter drought in 50 years, Korea had a mere 58 mm of rain last winter, down 36 percent from the previous year, which failed to wash the fine dust out. Easterly winds that bring clean sea air to the Korean Peninsula also blew eight days fewer than the previous year.   
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