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Fine dust included as category in emergency disaster mobile messaging

All News 16:52 April 16, 2017

SEOUL, April 16 (Yonhap) -- The government will send an emergency message to people in Seoul and its satellite cities via mobile phone if severe fine dust is forecast in the region, the public security ministry said Sunday.

"Once the message, called cell broadcast service (CBS), is issued, public agencies are obliged to follow the government's emergency steps to reduce fine dust in the air, including the introduction of the two-day rotation system for cars and shorter working hours at job and construction sites," the ministry said, adding that it and the environment ministry have earlier agreed on the listing of fine dust in CBS categories, which include earthquakes and floods.

Downtown Seoul looks hazy with mist and fine dust on April 16, 2017. (Yonhap)

Downtown Seoul looks hazy with mist and fine dust on April 16, 2017. (Yonhap)

The CBS will be issued when the average density of ultrafine particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers crosses 50 micrograms per cubic meter between midnight and 4:00 a.m., and the density of fine dust is forecast to be "very bad" for more than three hours during the day, the ministry said.

In addition, if a fine dust warning is issued in more than one of nine alert regions in the metropolitan area as of 5:00 p.m., the emergency measures will be introduced from 6:00 a.m. the following day, according to the ministry.

In issuing an emergency message, the environment ministry will first convene a meeting at 5:00 p.m. to decide the introduction of the emergency steps, and then request the security ministry to send a message to mobile users at the same time.

"A standard message is likely to be 'Please join the two-day rotation system as fine dust is predicted in the metropolitan area tomorrow,'" the ministry said.

However, the driving restriction is not obligatory for ordinary citizens, it added.

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