With populations and industries in close proximity, Seoul Metropolitan regions are affected by severe air pollution, and there was high need for improvement. In this light, the Seoul Metropolitan Air Quality Improvement Planning Team was launched in 2002; the “Special Act on the Improvement of Air Quality in Seoul Metropolitan Area” was enacted in 2003 (enforced in 2005); the “1st Seoul Metropolitan Air Quality Control Master Plan (2005-2014)” was formulated in 2005; and implementation plans were established for each local government in 2006 to carry out the master plan. Various special measures regarding the Seoul Metropolitan area were implemented based on these plans. In 2013, the second master plan was formulated for 2015 to 2024.
The special act is also meaningful in that it was enacted through opinion gathering from various groups, debates, and social agreement. More than 190 debates took place through various committees, public hearings, seminars, and conferences, and issues were resolved by a joint task force consisting of associated government ministries, industrial groups, and civil organizations.
The Seoul Metropolitan Air Quality Control Master Plan aims to improve PM10 and nitrogen dioxide concentrations to the levels of Tokyo, Paris, and other major cities by reducing Seoul Metropolitan air pollutant emissions by half of 2001 figures by 2014.
Control measures to achieve these goals consist of automobile management, including the project to reduce exhaust gases from vehicles in operation, management of emission facilities, including the total load management system for large establishments, and management of eco-friendly energy and cities. Projects to simultaneously reduce air pollutants and greenhouse gases will be carried out to improve air quality and make a positive contribution to climate change. Examples include distribution of low NOx burners, equipping vehicles with idle stop and go systems, and expanding green spaces in urban regions.
The Seoul Metropolitan air pollutant load management has been enforced since January 2008. It allocates yearly emission allowances for nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides to Class 1 and Class 2 large establishments, requiring them to keep their emissions within the allowances and allowing them to trade any surplus allocations.
In accordance with Article 38 of the Framework Act on Environmental Policy, the Minister of Environment may designate any area affected or likely to be affected by considerable environmental pollution as a special contermeasure area and restrict land use and facility installation within this area. There are two designated air conservation special countermeasure areas, which are the National Industrial Complexes in Ulsan and Yeosu, densely packed with large emission facilities. Particularly strict permissible emission levels can be applied to these emission facilities.
Earlier, industry-focused regulations have had limitations in addressing air pollution in large cities. This is due to the increase in emissions from area sources and mobile sources caused by urbanization, an increase in vehicles, and use of chemical substances in addition to point sources such as industries. Secondary pollutants such as ozone are heavily influenced by weather and geographical conditions. This necessitates comprehensive improvement measures that account for the environmental capacity of each region affected by air pollution and includes traffic and energy demand management.
Accordingly, the “Clean Air Conservation Act” was amended in December 1995 so that regions that have exceeded or may exceed environmental limits and are deemed to require urgent improvement of air quality can be designated as “air quality control areas.” The Seoul Metropolitan area, Busan area, Daegu area, and Gwangyangman area were consequently designated as air quality control areas.1) The si or do governors of the areas concerned are required to formulate a relevant execution plan, implement the plan after obtaining approval from the Minister of Environment, and report on implementation performance each year. Key control measures for air quality control areas are compulsory installation of VOC inhibition and prevention facilities, close inspection of exhaust gases from vehicles in operation, and introduction of low-pollution vehicles.
1) Among these, the Seoul metropolitan area is managed under the Special Act on the Improvement of Air Quality in Seoul Metropolitan Area as of its enactment in 2003.
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Last modified : 2016-11-03 22:58
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