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Committee proposes measures to cut fine dust by 20 pct

National 11:00 September 30, 2019

SEOUL, Sept. 30 (Yonhap) -- A presidential committee on Monday suggested measures to reduce South Korea's fine dust by up to 20 percent later this year amid growing concerns over an environmental issue that has social and diplomatic ramifications.

The measures, encompassing seven areas such as industry, health and international cooperation, are expected to cut fine dust emissions in Asia's fourth-largest economy from December this year to March next year, months in which fine dust peaks, by 20 percent on-year.

The National Council on Climate and Air Quality, chaired by former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, told a press conference it submitted the proposal to the presidential office last week. President Moon Jae-in had earlier promised to actively reflect the committee's recommendations in environmental policy.

This photo taken May 16, 2019, shows a view of Guro Ward in Seoul on a day when fine dust levels were high. (Yonhap)

This photo taken May 16, 2019, shows a view of Guro Ward in Seoul on a day when fine dust levels were high. (Yonhap)

Regarding business, which generates roughly 41 percent of the country's total emissions, the committee suggested giving further incentives such as tax benefits and funds for securing greener facilities and technologies. It forecast the incentive-focused policy to cut emissions by 11,993 tons during the four-month period.

The committee also suggested regulating coal power plants, which are often accused of being the biggest cause of air pollution. By suspending or scaling down operations at 27 plants across the country, the committee said it expected fine dust emissions to fall by 3,491 tons.

The committee also proposed policies aimed at protecting health.

It suggested a tougher regulations on burning trash in rural areas and setting up signage showing air pollution levels in residential areas and at construction sites.

It also proposed banning diesel cars in school zones and operating sprinkler trucks in areas near schools and hospitals.

As part of the efforts, the committee also suggested sharing fine dust-related information with China and signing a bilateral partnership on curbing air pollution.

The policy suggestion is the latest of Seoul's efforts to tackle fine dust, a potential cause of respiratory diseases and cancer.

Fine dust particles are more likely to penetrate deeper into the lungs, while ultra-fine particles can be absorbed directly into the blood stream, posing serious health risks.


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