BUCHEON, South Korea, March 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's finance minister said Friday that the government is considering drawing up an extra budget to deal with fine dust challenges.
Hong Nam-ki, the minister of economy and finance, made the comments to reporters in Bucheon, just west of Seoul, where Hong visited a vocational school that provides vehicle maintenance programs.
Earlier this month, President Moon Jae-in called on officials to draw up an extra budget, if necessary, to counter fine dust air pollution, which can cause various health problems.
The budget, if approved, could be used to increase the use of air purifiers and expanding joint projects with China, presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said on March 6.
South Korea said earlier this week that about half of South Korea's ultrafine dust air pollution comes from China.
Fine dust has blanketed South Korea in recent weeks, prompting calls for actions to reduce the particles smaller than 10 micrometers in diameter. Fine dust can cause various respiratory diseases and undermine the body's immune system. Ultrafine dust particles are smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter.
A team from the International Monetary Fund said a supplementary budget should amount to 0.5 percent of South Korea's gross domestic product, which stood at 1,800 trillion won last year.
An extra budget is subject to parliamentary approval.
Last year, South Korea's parliament approved an extra budget bill worth 3.83 trillion won (US$3.54 billion) to create jobs for young people and help industrial regions grappling with massive layoffs.
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