Air quality has become an issue of grave national concern in Korea recently. For the last few years, especially in the spring and winter seasons Korea experienced an increasing number of poor air quality days which led to a growing public concern over air pollution and shed new light on air quality policies. Responding to the need for urgent actions to achieve clean air, the Korean government actively implements the “Comprehensive Plan on Fine dust Management.” Aiming to reduce PM2.5 emissions by 35.8 % by 2022 from the level of 2014, it expects that the annual PM2.5 concentration will decrease to 17 to 18 ㎍/㎥ from 25 ㎍/㎥ and the annual number of poor air quality days from 64 to 40 for the same period.
Ramping up the effort to protect the groups particularly vulnerable to fine dust, the Government provides subsidies to make school buses use LPG fuel and supply air purifiers to schools. In addition, it designates the areas where daycare centers, schools and facilities for the elderly are concentrated and high levels of fine dust are frequently reported as “Clean Zone” for intensive measures taken to control the emissions such as restricting the use of old diesel vehicles and shortening operation hours of emissions facilities.
The plan set up a strong framework for tackling air pollution, with a special focus on four major sources of fine dust, power generation, industries, transportation, and daily surroundings.
Power generation : Strengthen control over emissions from coal-fired power plants and increase penetration rates of new renewable energy
Industries : Introduce the “Dust Cap Regulation” targeting emission facilities in the Seoul Metropolitan Area and apply stricter permissible emissions levels to business facilities
Transportation : Apply tighter emission standards to diesel vehicles, expand restrictions of driving diesel vehicles, and encourage the use of eco-friendly cars
Daily surroundings : Mitigate fugitive dust from roads, root out illegal incinerations, and reduce emission sources of fine dust in urban and rural areas
When high concentrations of PM2.5 are predicted to occur or continue, the Government takes emergency actions to immediately reduce the emissions and protect the people against harmful particle pollution. The actions include adjusting operation levels of coal-fired power plants, construction sites and emission facilities, and driving bans for cars with high emissions.