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The air pollution problem in South Korea is very prominent in such a way that it supersedes other issues or causes of concern in the country like economic stagnation, natural disasters, and the threat of nuclear-armed North Korea. South Korea’s polluted air is in extents that outmatch its industrialized peers, and this is a result of domestically coal-fired power plants and vehicle emissions, as well as pollutants that come from other neighboring countries like China and North Korea.
The level of air pollution in the Asian country is so high that workers have to wear masks and sometimes remain indoors to avoid inhaling particulate matter. The high levels of concentrated pollutants in the air also mean that people cannot move around freely, or even walk their pets, or even spend a lot of time outside.
The issue of fine dust has weighed in on South Koreans, thanks to industrial emissions from China and within that continue to pollute the air. The upper air stream of the country remains heavily contaminated with fine dust, and there have been discussions on creating artificial rain to address the heavy pollution in the country.
Early this year, the country witnessed high levels of fine toxic dust and particulate matter. The issue has only continued to get worse, and authorities in major cities across the Asian industrial power have instituted emergency measures with the goals of reducing emissions. Further, discussions are in progress which could lead to research on how to arrest the pollution problem.
Sources of Emissions and Pollutants
The high levels of concentrated pollutants, fine dust, and particulate matter in South Korea raise some very critical questions about how these emissions get into the atmosphere. A significant source of these emissions is China since most of the particulate matter and emissions come from industrial clusters that are on China’s east coast. Increases in industrial activity on these clusters correspond with increases in pollutants in South Korea.
The industrial activity in South Korea also remains a key source of the particulate matter in the upper airstream. Further, continued investment in China’s companies by South Korea has exacerbated the situation, since emissions and pollutants find their way back to South Korea.
Particulate matter, fine dust, and the aggregate concentrated pollutants often lead to haze and smog, which is not only detrimental to the South Korean populace, but also the country’s attractiveness to other citizens and visitors.
The Problem Is Cyclical
There are times when air pollution becomes extreme, and the atmosphere becomes full of haze and smog, and there are times when all settles down, and the level of fine dust and particulate matter reduces. When the atmosphere is full of concentrated pollutants and smog is all over, there is a lot of outrage from the citizenry, who demand government action. The situation becomes the mainstay of many media outlets.
After some time, the situation eases, and the public stops the outrage against the issue. This, coupled with other factors, has hindered concrete action against the air pollution problem in South Korea. The government also goes with the public tide and announces steps to curb the problem when there is a lot of haze and smoke and poor atmospheric conditions.
Air Purifiers and Masks
South Korea citizens have taken steps to reduce the inhalation of fine dust and particulate matter. Among the actions taken is the use of air purifiers and masks. There has been a spike in business activity associated with the manufacture of air purifiers and masks in South Korea, and companies that engage in this business have witnessed increased revenues and performing shares.
Most employees who go to work in the morning and the evening use masks to reduce the inhalation of fine dust and particulate matter.
The health risks associated with air pollution in South Korea are numerous. South Koreans risk contracting lung complications and other diseases like cancer. Some particulate matter and fine dust find its way through the skin, and this results in skin ailments, and could also result in other diseases associated with the skin.
Other complications like inflammation in the brain arise from the toxic and polluted air, and folks who have to deal with it daily, due to work or other outdoor activities face the risk of contracting different assortments of diseases and complications.
In summary, the industrial activity in South Korea and more so China is contributing significantly to the air pollution problem in South Korea. South Korea, which is a member country of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development – a bloc of countries that stimulates global trade and economic progress. In this particular bloc, South Korea leads in terms of countries with the worst air quality.
Folks in South Korea continue to directly breath toxic air and polluted air as days go by, and this situation may lead to complications in the health of these folks, which may come to have a toll on the country’s health infrastructure.
The air pollution problem continues to inconvenience workers and other people in different capacities and stature in society since they have to live with the problem. Government efforts have not adequately addressed the issue, though continued efforts give citizens hopes of better days to come.