Pollution from China is negatively impacting Korea.
In November 2013, air pollution was particularly pronounced. Seoul’s assistant mayor in charge of Climate and Environment, Ok-ki Lim, estimated the rate of particulate matter (PM) in the air to be at a level harmful to humans. Particulate matter is a term for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air.
Though the level had receded to a “safe level” by December, according to Lim, this ultrafine dust has recently returned to Korea and caused the air to become even hazier and smoggier. In March, Seoul had reached a PM of 93 micrograms per cubic meter. The government issues advisors whenever the rating goes above 85.
According to Hee-Eum Kang, a chief weather official at the metropolitan government, “High-density fine dust was created in Shanghai and Qingdao of China and moved westward toward the Korean Peninsula. We see that pollution from fine dust became more serious due to the thick smog and still air in the country.”
Kim Ji Hae, a sophomore at Troy High School whose relatives live in South Korea, told JSR, “I’m worried that my grandparents will have lung problems. They often leave their house early in the morning to exercise.”
Luckily, there are high chances that these ultra fine dusts will soon be decreased. Lim stated, “Chinese officials are aware of our concerns. We are working together with our Chinese counterparts to tackle the problem.”
Until then, a city official advised the citizens: “Elderly people, children and patients with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases should refrain from going out. When going out, citizens are advised to wear yellow-dust masks.”