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article imageSouth Korea eyes new technology to combat fine dust

By Lucky Malicay     Jul 14, 2016 in Environment
Seoul - South Korea seeks to develop a new technology that will curb fine dust that is now emerging as a major health threat in the country.
The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said it will tap the country’s research and development sector to come up with an innovative manner to resolve the environmental problem.
"Studies on fine dust so far have been conducted on a partial basis, especially on ways to reduce damage," the ministry said.
"This time, however, the government plans to take a comprehensive approach toward all relevant issues to resolve (the issue) with science and technology."
The government will soon solicit various opinions from the public, including those from the business community and environmental groups, on how to address the problem.
The program’s first step involved creating an action plan by September to establish a new technology that will control the fine dust.
South Korean authorities and environmental experts believe that the fine dust comes from China and from the local vehicles and coal-fired power plants, but no exact data are available.
During a meeting last month, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn and the ministers of the country agreed that tougher restrictions on old diesel vehicles and shutting down aging coal-fired power plants should be considered to combat the fine dust.
Amid the growing health concerns, South Korean and Chinese business leaders vowed to work together in an effort to reduce fine dust emissions.
At their recent meeting in China’s northeastern city of Harbin, business leaders from the two countries agreed to find ways to solve the problem. At least 21 South Korean businessmen, including Federation of Korean Industries chairman Huh Chang-soo, attended the meeting, which also drew 23 Chinese business leaders.
The environmental group Greenpeace, however, said much of the smog in South Korea do not come from China but from the country’s coal power plants.
“Despite what is widely reported through the Korean media, 50 to 70 percent of particle-laden smog, which is also known as PM2.5, is generated within the country,” Greenpeace said.
Last Week, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said the government will shut 10 ageing coal-fired power plants by 2025 in a move to reduce reliance on polluting fuel.
"In response to growing concerns over fine dusts, we will lower the share of coal power by shutting down old coal-fired power plants and restricting to add new coal-fired power plants in the future," said the ministry.
Coal accounts for about 40 percent of the country’s electricity supplies.
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