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We hit the streets of Seoul, South Korea to find out how Koreans feel about air pollution and where they think \”fine dust\” comes from. The opinions expressed in this video are those of individual interviewees alone and do not reflect the views of ASIAN BOSS or the general South Korean population.
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주제와 관련된 더 많은 사진을 참조하십시오 Why Air Pollution Is So Bad In South Korea? | ASIAN BOSS. 댓글에서 더 많은 관련 이미지를 보거나 필요한 경우 더 많은 관련 기사를 볼 수 있습니다.
주제에 대한 기사 평가 air pollution in seoul
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- Date Published: 2018. 6. 20.
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Ô nhiễm không khí Seoul: Chỉ số chất lượng không khí PM2.5 thời gian thực
Các trạm giám sát chất lượng không khí GAIA đang sử dụng các cảm biến hạt laser công nghệ cao để đo ô nhiễm PM2.5 thời gian thực, đây là một trong những chất gây ô nhiễm không khí có hại nhất.Rất dễ cài đặt, chúng chỉ cần một điểm truy cập WIFI và nguồn điện USB. Sau khi kết nối, mức độ ô nhiễm không khí được báo cáo ngay lập tức và theo thời gian thực trên bản đồ của chúng tôi
Thông báo sử dụng: Tất cả dữ liệu chất lượng không khí không được xác thực tại thời điểm công bố. Nhằm đảm bảo chất lượng, những dữ liệu này có thể được cập nhập mà không cần thông báo trước. Nhóm dự án Chỉ số chất lượng không khí toàn cầu đã thực hiện tất cả yêu cầu cần thiết trong việc biên soạn các thông tin này. Nhóm dự án hoặc các bên liên quan sẽ không chịu trách nhiệm về bất kỳ tổn thất, thương tích hoặc thiệt hại nào phát sinh trực tiếp hoặc gián tiếp từ việc cung cấp những dữ liệu này trong bất kỳ trường hợp nào.
How Seoul is struggling to improve its air quality
Author | Lucía Burbano
For over a decade, South Korea’s Statistics Research Institute has been asking the population what they think of the quality of the air they breathe. The response since 2012 has been practically the same: low levels of satisfaction confirm that South Korea has a problem.
The air quality in the capital, Seoul, is particularly serious, as a result of its rapid industrialization. According to NASA, Seoul is among one of the world’s cities with the worst air pollution. Between 2009 and 2013, Seoul’s mean PM10 levels were higher than in many of the largest cities in the world, including Los Angeles, Tokyo, Paris and London. Air quality is also estimated to have accounted for approximately 16 percent of all deaths in the Seoul metropolitan area in 2010.
Seoul’s air quality, a national problem
According to IQAir, the Swiss air quality technology company with an air quality platform providing real-time data on the world’s air quality, the average quality in South Korea in 2019 was “moderate”. However, the level of particulate material or PM2.5 (atmospheric particulate matter that has a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers,) was double the recommended level. The country occupied the 26th position out of 98 on that year’s global ranking.
In 2020, and as was the case in practically the entire world as a result of the interruption of activities due to the Covid-19 pandemic, concentrations of air pollutants dropped, in Korea’s case, by 27%. However, the break caused by the pandemic should not mask a reality which, in Korea, has a name: fine dust or yellow dust.
Pollution levels in its capital, Seoul, which is home to around 10 million people, are the worst in the country. To such an extent that average residents will live 1.7 years less if the city’s high pollution levels continue as they are.
What lies behind the bad air quality
In March 2021, Korea experienced the worst yellow dust storm of the past decade. This phenomenon, which begins in the deserts of China and Mongolia particularly during the Spring, brings with it harmful particles such as sulfur, carbon monoxide, heavy metals and other carcinogenic material together with viruses, bacteria, fungi, pesticides, antibiotics, herbicides and plastic components that accelerate and exacerbate lung and cardiovascular diseases and various types of cancers.
Local health authorities categorize the concentrations of PM10 (solid or liquid dust particles, ashes, soot, meal particles or pollen) between 0 and 30 micrograms as good, between 31 and 80 as normal and between 81 and 150 as bad. In Seoul they reached 545 micrograms in March of last year and the authorities advised vulnerable groups not to go outside.
Yellow dust storms have always existed but they have been exacerbated by increased deforestation activities in Central Asia, increasing the frequency of the storms, particularly if there is little rainfall and anticyclones generate warm or stagnant air into the atmosphere. Many in Korea blame China’s industrial activity, which is much more intensive than in the past, for the increased number of harmful particles present in these dust storms.
Drones, robots, satellites and artificial rain, measures to improve air quality
As they are aware of the problem, the Korean authorities are working on improving air quality by implementing various strategies:
5G-connected autonomous robots
Last year, 5-G connected robots equipped with devices to measure air quality, began patrolling the Jeonju industrial complex in South Korea. More efficient and with the ability to reach more areas than the inspectors patrolling the factories, the data collected will be subsequently used for the city’s environmental management.
Association with international entities
A new partnership between the United Nations Environment Program and the Republic of Korea’s Capital Metropolitan Area, which includes Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi province, will help officials expand their efforts to tackle air pollution and share their best practices with other regions suffering from poor air quality.
Drones to combat pool air quality
As part of a series of investments being made by the Korean government to implement drones in numerous procedures, the surveillance company Hancom inSpace has been chosen to develop an automatic drone system to observe coastal pollution for over 20 minutes for a distance of up to 4 kilometers.
Collaboration with China
Air quality has become a delicate diplomatic issue, since, according to numerous Korean sources, around 70% of the toxic particles present in the yellow dust storms are from China’s industrial activity. Even so, Korea has shown its willingness to collaborate with the Chinese authorities in projects that generate artificial rain to clean the atmosphere, among others.
A national satellite
Last year, the Korean Ministry of Science and ICT announced that it would begin to provide its inhabitants with real time air quality data and data of seven types of air pollutants. The data will be obtained from its environmental satellite Chollian-2B launched into orbit in 2020, so it does not have to rely on foreign satellites that were not providing this information with the desired frequency given the scope of the problem, which has now become a national problem.
Seoul Air Quality Index (AQI) and South Korea Air Pollution
What is the air quality index of Seoul?
Officially known as Seoul Special City, Seoul is the capital and largest city in South Korea. It is situated in the northwest of the country and has a population of 10 million people. The Seoul Capital Area is home to the headquarters of 14 “Fortune Global 500” companies, including Hyundai, Samsung and LG. Towards the end of 2020, Seoul was experiencing a bout of “Good” air quality with a US AQI figure of 50. The main pollutant was the fine dust particulate matter of PM2.5 with a concentration level of 12 µg/m³. Other recorded pollutants were as follows: – PM10 – 29 µg/m³, ozone (O 3 ) – 40 µg/m³, nitrogen dioxide (NO 2 ) – 40 µg/m³, sulphur dioxide (SO 2 ) – 40 µg/m³ and carbon monoxide – 40 µg/m³. With levels such as these outdoor activities are encouraged and doors and windows can be opened to let the fresh air into the home.
Why is Seoul polluted?
There are three main factors affecting the concentration of fine dust in Seoul’s atmosphere: emissions from itself, generation by reaction, and smog that drifts across from its neighbours, China and North Korea. Current measurement data are not sufficient to define the trend of the chemical composition of fine dust in Seoul’s atmosphere so it is difficult to distinguish between long-distance movement from the outside and formation by reaction. Ground-level ozone (O 3 ) is formed through the influence of ultraviolet rays from the sun. Nevertheless, when the measurement data and the simulation results are combined, it was found that in the case of Seoul, the effect of generation by reaction is as great as the discharge and inflow from outside. This means that although it is important to reduce direct emissions to reduce the concentration of fine dust in Seoul, it is also important to reduce the generation of photochemical reactions and inflow from the outside.
Is air pollution in Seoul getting worse?
The government says that domestic air pollution emissions are slowly decreasing, but the fine dust pollution in Seoul appears to be on the increase.
Having reviewed changes over the last 2 decades in the concentration of atmospheric environmental standards such as sulphur dioxide (SO 2 ) and fine dust (PM2.5), an indicator of perceived air pollution, it was found that Seoul’s atmospheric environment has been improving since 1990. However, Seoul’s air environment related to the microscopic particles is still worse than some of the other large cities in Korea.
According to the local Government, the average monthly concentration of ultrafine dust (PM2.5) in Seoul was 45 µg/m3 (microgram, 1 µg = 1 millionth of a gram). This is the highest monthly average concentration in Seoul since the official measurement of ultrafine dust concentrations since 2015.
It was 30 µg/m³ in March 2015, 32 µg/m³ in March 2016, and 35 µg/m³ in March last year, and this year it is gradually deteriorating to 45 µg/m³.
What can be done to improve the air quality in Seoul?
In December 2003, the local government put together a strategy to reduce the amount of air pollution in Seoul, primarily PM2.5 particles were to be targeted. In order to establish effective fine dust reduction countermeasures, it is necessary to know the current trends, up-to-date status and major contributors. This study comprehensively reviewed and analysed the results of research published in domestic and international academic journals and academic conferences until September 2006 to identify changes in Seoul’s atmosphere, and identify major factors affecting concentration.
Various aspects of air quality problems caused by aerosols in Seoul have been discussed. Based on the available data, it was found that the general air quality in Seoul has improved during the last two decades. However, PM10 concentration in Seoul is still higher than in other cities in Korea and worldwide. In Seoul, it was suggested that secondary aerosols are as important as primary aerosols whether directly emitted in Seoul or transported from outside.
An eco-friendly condensing boiler is a boiler whose evaporation amount is less than 0.1 ton per hour or heat capacity is less than 61,900 Kcal per hour, and it refers to a boiler that satisfies the standards set by environmental labelling products and certification standards. Certification standards have an energy efficiency rating of 91% or more, nitric oxides (NOx) 40ppm (parts per million) or less, and carbon monoxide (CO) 200ppm or less.
According to a study on the management of air pollutants in combustion devices for heating buildings published by the Seoul Institute, older, inefficient boilers have 80 per cent energy efficiency and produce nitric oxide NOx emissions of 173ppm. General boiler energy efficiency is 83 per cent with NOx emissions of 85ppm, whereas, eco-friendly boilers have an energy efficiency 91 per cent with a NOx emission of 40ppm.
This scheme targets citizens living in Seoul who replace ordinary boilers with eco-friendly condensing boilers and only one application per household can be applied for.
What are the effects on health through breathing in Seoul’s polluted air?
There are various types of pollutants suspended in the air that can affect your health. When the weather is warmer, ozone (O 3 ) can make it difficult for some people to breathe. This gas is created when sunlight starts a chemical reaction between oxygen and certain pollutants emitted from cars, factories, and other sources. Ground-level ozone can irritate the lining of your airways and lungs. People with asthma and other respiratory conditions are more likely to feel its effects.
Another type of outdoor pollutant that seriously can affect health is particulates, (PM2.5 and PM10). These are fine and coarse particles that are released into the atmosphere when fuel is burned. They can come from things such as cars, power plants, and wildfires. Research has linked particulates to short and long-term lung problems. They can also be responsible for some types of cancer and are known to shorten the lifespan for some individuals.
Even healthy people can suffer from the effects of polluted air but people that are more sensitive to pollution should be extra careful. The extent of the effects depends on several conditions such as the type of pollutant suspended in the air and the amount of time the body is exposed to it.
Air pollution in South Korea
Overview of the air pollution in South Korea
Pollution in South Korea is visible on some nights
Air pollution in South Korea has become an increasing threat to people and the environment. The air pollution comes from many sources, both domestic and international. Many forms of pollution have increased in South Korea since its rapid industrialization, especially in Seoul and other cities. According to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Seoul is amongst one of the world’s cities with the worst air pollution. From 2009 and 2013, the city’s mean PM 10 were higher than in many of the largest metropolitan cities in the world such as: Los Angeles, Tokyo, Paris, and London. It is also estimated that air quality accounted for about 16 percent of deaths in the Seoul Metropolitan Area in 2010. This has resulted in health and environmental problems. Koreans buy masks and air purifiers to breathe cleaner air, and are working to reduce the country’s emissions.
Causes of pollution in South Korea [ edit ]
South Korea’s air pollution has the worst air quality of the 35 richest countries in the world. Pollution in South Korea increased after World War II. In 1960, Korea was still a developing country with a small manufacturing sector and was heavily dependent on foreign aid. The society of South Korea began a massive shift from an agrarian to industrial economy, which was only accelerated by the Korean War. In the aftermath of the war, the United States funneled significant aid to South Korea under the auspices of the United Nations Korea Reconstruction Agency (UNKRA). Once a fledgling industrial nation, South Korea’s economy grew 10% each year through the 1980s and 1990s. Today, South Korea is a manufacturing and export powerhouse, as of 2015 it was the world’s 11th largest gross domestic producer, but this has been driven by coal-fired power generation and high vehicle emissions.
From 2014 to 2016 there was a 1,139 million dollar cut in the South Korean Air Pollution Control Industry. However, since then, the Korean Ministry of Environment has regulated 11 air pollutants and 32 other air substances that are categorized as hazardous. Korea also plans to close 10 of their 61 running coal power plants by 2025.
With this rapid growth South Korea itself became a major source of air pollution in the country, including from diesel vehicles, construction equipment, heating and air conditioning, and power plants.
China [ edit ]
Many South Koreans blame China for its pollution because of the spread of their yellow dust that is being produced by huge factories and coal-fired power plants. China causes 30 to 50 percent of the PM 2.5 in South Korea on normal days, but 60 to 80 percent on the worst days.
China is particularly blamed when slow air currents in colder months create smog-like conditions. However, many experts say that Korea’s heavy reliance on coal-fired power plants and diesel fuel is also a major part of the problem. Fine dust particles from China together with domestic air pollutants contribute to the surge in the concentration of air pollutants in the Korean air. China’s growing economic activity has allowed them to burn a yearly average of 4 billion tons of coal, which in turn has contributed up to 50% of Korea’s PM 2.5 particles. This gets worse with slow air currents in colder months, the National Institute of Environmental Research said in a report in 2016. During the colder months, rumors and complaints about China grow. Many people in South Korea suffer from mental distress and are at risk of respiratory problems because of the fine dust that blows into South Korea from the western deserts of China. Long range transportation of harmful particles from southwestern China, specifically Shanghai was found to be the culprit. This statistic is only expected to worsen with a predicted increase in China’s number of power plants fueled by coal.
Traffic [ edit ]
In modern South Korea, fossil fuel combustion is the biggest contributor to air pollution. Korea has minimal fossil fuel resources and imports all but 1% of its coal supplies. The country relies heavily on fossil energy, due to its growing economy and need for energy sources, with oil accounting for 38% of the primary energy supply, coal 29% and gas 15%.
Traffic, factories and power plants all contribute to pollution. Conventional power plants combust fossil fuels to produce energy and release hazardous gases such as oxides and nitrogen, carbon monoxide, particulates, and hydrocarbons into the air.
The number of cars on the road is increasing. In a fast growing economy like South Korea, the growth of imports and exports can increase fossil fuel combustion. Especially in big cities like Seoul rising pollution will cause more problems for residents.
Asian Dust Storm [ edit ]
Every Spring, East Asian countries such as: South Korea and Japan are victims of severe dust storms. The dust storms originate from dry desert regions in western China and Inner Mongolia. These dust storms were first recorded 2,000 years ago in South Korea and China. The effects of Asian Dust Storms are respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, cause of pinkeye, obstructing visibility, and damaging goods. As a result, the mortality rate and health problems within the respiratory and cardiovascular diseases increased in 2002. These storms have also caused economic problems where damages amounted to an estimate of $15.5 billion in 2002.
Prevailing winds [ edit ]
These prevailing winds occur year-round from the west toward the east in the middle latitudes between 30 degrees and 60 degrees. The Korean peninsula sits in the prevailing westerlies zone between 43 degrees north and 33 degrees north. During the spring, dry sand storms from deserts in China and Inner Mongolia travel long distances with these prevailing westerlies and causing sandstorms.
Consequences [ edit ]
Health effects [ edit ]
Air pollution can cause harm to the human body. According to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), increasing PM 2.5 air pollution has been linked to cancer, heart disease, pneumonia and low birth weight. Long-term air pollution can lead to higher mortality rates. Women who are pregnant during their first and second trimester are also more at risk for their children developing congenital malformations to their circulatory system, musculoskeletal system or genitourinary system. Korean researchers have suggested an association with Parkinson, cardiovascular illnesses and other neurological diseases.
Diseases caused by air pollution
Pollution has been linked to increase in illness and deaths in South Korea. For example, exposure to sulfur dioxide causes chronic lung disease and respiratory disorders. Exposure to ozone and particulate matter is associated with respiratory and circulatory diseases and increased mortality.
The state-sponsored Korea Environment Institute (KEI) said the dust kills up to 165 Korean civilians a year, mostly the elderly or those with respiratory ailments, and makes 1.8 million ill.
According to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates, air pollution will be linked to the premature deaths of 1.069 per 1 million South Koreans in 2060, making South Korea the only OECD country predicted to have over 1,000 deaths per million linked to air pollution.
Socio-economic effects [ edit ]
People of different sexes, health behaviors, and socioeconomic levels are also affected by air pollution differently. Those in more urban areas with factories are more likely to be vulnerable to the averse effects of air pollution like citizens living in one of the seven major cities. A protest group in Seoul called Dust Out with 44,000 female members, mostly mothers petition the government to seriously consider the health situation for their children and future generations.
South Korea’s decreasing air quality has an impact on a number of outdoor sports. The Korea Baseball Organization recently changed its regulations to allow cancellation or suspension of a professional baseball game in case of severe fine dust warning.
Local studies have put the economic damage caused by air pollution, largely because of lost production, at about $9 billion a year and have predicted that this will be double by 2060.
Solutions [ edit ]
Masks [ edit ]
A popular, affordable method for protection is the use of pollution masks. Koreans often wear masks but sometimes complain that they are uncomfortable. Cheap masks can last for a day or a few weeks. Expensive ones can last for a few months. Pollution masks are therefore not an eco-friendly solution as they generate pollution when made and waste when thrown away. Also, over a long period of time they are expensive for the majority of Korean citizens.
Long-term solutions [ edit ]
A long-term solution is to buy an expensive air purifier for houses or cars. Citizens are asking for government subsidies for buying those expensive products, especially middle-class families. Those petitions are made on the Blue House’s official website.
Another solution is to inform citizens about current air quality through air pollution maps, smartphone apps, and text message alerts so outdoor activities can be avoided when there is elevated pollution.
Government regulations [ edit ]
Since signing the Paris Agreement in 2016, Korea has been committed to clean its air. By 2022, domestic emissions are planned to be cut by 30% as President Moon Jae-in vowed to shut down old coal plants (while also opening new ones). The Korean Government is planning on providing air purification systems for public facilities and schools consisting of air purifiers and air purifying plants. On high pollution days, the government bans heavy vehicles and old, diesel-using vehicles. In 2018, public transportation was free in Seoul during three days on which a high level of pollution was observed. The aim was to decrease the use of cars in the city. However, the measure failed as it did not make much difference.
A five-mile linear park in Ansan (Gyeongi-do)
On a local level, Korean cities have many bicycle routes, pedestrian-only zones and a five-mile linear park. Diesel buses are being replaced with natural gas vehicles, and emission-reduced devices are provided to cars.
The government has taken action of improving air quality in the Seoul Capital region by implementing the Special Act on Seoul Metropolitan Air Quality Improvement in December 2003. The first phase of the air management plan took action in 2005 for nearly a decade (2005-2014). The Seoul Capital region is a metropolitan area which includes Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi-do province. The priority pollutants were selected as PM 10 , nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and volatile organic compounds. More precisely, its goal was aimed to reduce average annual PM 10 and NO 2 concentrations from 69 μg per cubic meter (μg/m3) and 38 parts per billion (ppb) to 40 μg/m3 and 22 ppb by 2014.
The use of unmanned aerial vehicles is part of a pilot program announced by South Korea’s Ministry of Environment. Its purpose is to inspect factory emissions in Seoul’s greater metropolitan area. Government officials plan to identify illegal incinerations producing pollutants, fine dust, and carbon dioxide. Experts and citizens hope this plan will mark a turning point for Seoul because the area is marked as the major driver of emissions. 
Another planned measure is a cloud-seeding plane that causes artificial rain to “wash away” pollution. However, the pollution is not gone but “falls down” to the earth, which can harm plants and the environment. The South Korean and Chinese governments are planning on having artificial rain in the Yellow Sea, which could kill many marine animals.
Green Growth Policy [ edit ]
Green Growth is an idea that was first brought up in 2009. It was the concept that countries will embrace more environmentally friendly alternatives to motivate growth as the two concepts, green and growth go hand in hand. Despite Green Growth being a concept in the making, it contains the two components that makes it a part of sustainable development: growth and environment. South Korea was one of the first countries to diligently integrate green growth into their national strategy to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gasses (GHG), pollution, and unnecessary usage of nonrenewable energy. By following the values of the Green Growth Policy that gave rise to the Framework Act on Low Carbon Green Growth in 2009, South Korea set its goals to be seventh in Green World Power by 2020 and fifth in 2050.
Before the Green Growth Policy, 96% of South Korea’s energy sources had been imported. In order to honor their new policy, South Korean politicians worked to encourage energy independence while promoting green technologies and the new industry’s green structure. To highlight green technologies, green lifestyles, transportation (public buses and intricate subway systems) along with sustainable water and land use were introduced to the South Korean citizens.
Despite the movement of the Green Growth Policy, there are flaws in the goals that are set to reduce the usage of nonrenewable energy. For example, President Lee Myeong Bak’s target of increasing South Korea’s renewable usage to 20.1% by 2029 is lackluster considering that other countries such as Sweden has set their goal for a 100% of their energy to come from renewable sources. Some countries like Costa Rica and Scotland have been successful in generating 97-98% of their energy from renewable energy sources.
Five Year Action Plan [ edit ]
The Five Year Action Plan was a plan that was introduced to help initiate the Green Growth Policy and kickstart green technological advancements. The Five Year Action Plan prioritized urban planning, buildings, and transportation and took place in 2009 till 2013. Not only did the Five Year Action Plan work to promote and create a new market for new and renewable energy (NRE) but it also helped to create almost 960,000 green jobs which ultimately helped the country overcome an economic crisis. Jobs were created for development of certain green technologies such as silicon based solar cells and smart grids.
Although South Korea has been dedicating around 2% of their GDP annually (23 billion USD), almost double the recommended amount suggested by the UN, private investments were needed to invest in NRE. The private investments assisted in creating a market and creating a flow of supply and demand for NRE technologies. During this phase, almost 30 different South Korean companies had invested approximately 13.6 billion USD in NRE technologies. The investments from the private businesses positively impacted on reducing GHG emissions by marketing green technology. According to the environmental investment assessment of GHG that was launched in 2010, roughly 11.47 million tons of GHG emissions from their annual emission of 595.95 million tons of GHG has been reduced due to the development of 53 new businesses in the green technology field.
See also [ edit ]
What Air Pollution in South Korea Can Teach the World about Misinformation
Climate change is an issue that is deeply entwined with lifestyle and one that requires collective action to solve. However, fake news and misinformation on climate change is interfering with how the scientific community engages with people interested in making lifestyle changes to mitigate the effects of climate change. Furthermore, taking into account the diversity of fake news on other scientific topics such as COVID-19 vaccination, socially effective methods to engage and persuade the majority of the public are a must.
The case of air quality in Korea can provide a hint on actions that the scientific community can take. In Korea, air quality has been improving over the past 20 years but public perception is different. People believe the air quality has been deteriorating since 2013. The official air quality measurements in Seoul suggest that the concentration of fine dust, called PM 10 (particulate matter 10 micrometers or smaller), has actually decreased over time. Understanding why this gap in reality and public perception exists, and the psychology behind it, can give scientists tools to better combat misinformation.
Credit: Amanda Montañez; Source: AirKorea
Public perception in Korea casts China as the major culprit in this issue of air quality, even though data from the joint research of National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER) and NASA indicate that 52 percent of the fine dust at Olympic Park in Seoul comes from South Korean domestic factories, while only 34 percent comes from western China.
People believe that the majority of the fine dust pollution is produced in China and that it blows into Korea via seasonal wind. Our frequency analysis of basic terms used in the comments on Korean news articles on Naver.com from January 2000 to February 2021 indicate as much.
There is a gap between reality and public perception.
We attribute the gap to two major factors: shared information bias and collective unconscious. Collective unconscious comes from our common ancestral and evolutionary past. In other words, the public as a whole forms a common conception in our unconsciousness and therefore reacts similarly to a particular phenomenon. Shared information bias—where people tend to focus on information that they know—reinforces this public perception that the contribution from China is more than that of South Korea.
Using this concept, we analyzed an event that occurred in November 2013. During that time, the city of Seoul suffered from unusually high concentrations of ultrafine dust that actually did come from China. Seoul looked like it had cloudy hazy weather during the weeks of that pollution plume. We wondered if the public’s perception that China was to blame for this bad air quality was triggered by this plume. Our analysis of the articles show that the public started to associate fine dust with China during that event. The number of news articles on fine dust that contain “China” as the keyword started to increase from November 2013, and so did the number of comments (and replies to comments) on these articles that referred to “China”.
Furthermore, shared information bias seems to have reinforced the public opinion. Not long after this pollution event, public sentiment towards China deteriorated as China was imposing economic sanctions against Korea. News articles and comments on fine dust with reference to China increased from late 2015 and continued the overall trend up to mid-2019. This, in turn, influenced interest groups in Korea, which then amplified the trend in their own interest rather than rectifying the misleading beliefs.
Notably, different patterns were found in China and Japan, which had experienced relatively little change in relations with each other. Japan’s news articles avoided public blaming of China, focusing instead on technical aspects of responding to the fine dust (for example, the words “mask,” “filter” and “product,” were frequently used). Chinese articles exhibited similar patterns but focused on local regulations and air quality deterioration in general (with words such as “development,” “construction,” “control” and “pollution” frequently used).
Therefore, based on the theories of collective unconscious and shared information bias, we propose that scientists seeking to sway people’s minds around climate change try the following:
Leverage significant events, such as Hurricanes Ida and the severe European floods in 2021, so that people perceive climate change as a serious issue requiring urgent attention and resolution. This will instill the notion of climate change as something that affects the public’s daily lives rather than a distant future.
Similar to the “We the People” system—a public petitioning system created by the Obama administration—a politically independent fact-check system verified by a pool of experts with mixed political views needs to be established for science. A decision made by people with different political views would minimize the room for anyone with a particular belief to reject the decision provided by the system as attributable to perceived bias.
Furthermore, scientists should pressure social media companies to make better filters for misinformation and other attempts to manipulate people’s feelings. Care should especially be taken so that decisions of by fact-check systems are enforced.
Direct action can also help while trying to change public perception. For example, the Korean scientific community is planting trees in the Gobi Desert to block the spread of its yellow dust by winds.
Finally, to ensure that the public trusts the experts fully, it is essential that scientists and engineers not promote scientific claims for their financial or societal gain and to pay attention to the social consequences of these claims. Otherwise, claims by the scientific community may not convince the public.
The views presented in this article are of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of their employers.
This is an opinion and analysis article, and the views expressed by the author or authors are not necessarily those of Scientific American.
How Bad Is the Air Pollution in Seoul? – Smart Air
How bad is the air pollution in Seoul, South Korea? On the one hand, Seoul is a modern, developed place, which means it shouldn’t be that bad. On the other hand, news media have reported several bad smog attacks in the last year. I wanted to get some hard numbers on Seoul air quality, so I analyzed data Seoul’s PM2.5 pollution data.
Seoul’s Air Quality in Numbers
Seoul’s PM2.5 averaged 26 micrograms/m3 from 2016 to 2018. That puts Seoul at more than two times the WHO annual limit. That’s bad news for lungs in Seoul because studies have discovered that levels around 10 micrograms affect our health.
Seoul’s International Air Quality Ranking
That also puts Seoul higher than major developed cities. People in Seoul breathe more polluted air than people in major cities like Paris, Berlin, and London.
Seoul’s Air Pollution: The Good News
But is Seoul air the worst in the world? Nowhere near it. Seoul isn’t even close to air quality of Beijing or Delhi.
Seoul’s Air Pollution: The Bad News
However, this average obscures the much more serious spikes in pollution, particularly in winter and spring. For instance, PM2.5 is frequently in the ‘Unhealthy’ range during winter and spring. Seoul often sees air pollution four times worse than average. In 2018, Seoul’s pollution peaked at 14 times the WHO annual limit.
Why Is Winter And Spring Air Worse in Seoul?
Around the world, PM2.5 tends to be worse this period (evidence from India, China, US) because air sticks closer to the surface of the earth. In Seoul, the lack of gets stuck inland.
Is China to Blame for Seoul’s Pollution?
Many people in Korea have argued that most of the pollution comes from Mainland China, but is that really the case? Of course, there are many local sources of air pollution in Seoul.
So is China really to blame? The Smart Air team has performed an analysis of wind and pollution to get to the bottom of whether Mainland China affects Seoul’s air quality. Check it out!
The data I analyzed comes from Berkeley Earth’s reports on PM2.5. PM2.5 pollution are particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter that can penetrate deep into the lungs and even enter the bloodstream. Studies have shown that PM2.5 raises blood pressure, inflammation, and rates of heart attacks and strokes.
Bottom line: Seoul’s air is not the worst in the world but averages over twice the WHO annual limit. During winter and spring especially, pollution reaches critical levels.
Reducing Seoul’s PM2.5 would bring meaningful benefits to residents’ health. Residents can take the following measures to protect themselves from air pollution:
Smart Air is a certified B Corp committed to combating the myths big companies use to artificially inflate the price of clean air. To help people living in polluted cities like Seoul protect themselves, Smart Air provides empirically backed, no-nonsense purifiers and masks, thereby helping to lower the cost of clean air.
We’ve been shipping lots of Smart Air purifiers to South Korea, but we don’t currently have a distributor there. If you want to help us bring more clean air to the people of South Korea, apply to be a distributor here!
Air Quality Seoul: Live air quality and pollution Forecasts
Air quality in Seoul Live air quality report and air quality forecast in Seoul
outdoor sports bring baby out
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The air is moderately polluted. Greater than the maximum limit established for one year by WHO. A long-term exposure constitutes a health risk.
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키워드에 대한 정보 air pollution in seoul
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