60% of the Worst Fine Dust Seen in Early March Came from China

Write : 2019-03-19 11:39:53 Update : 2019-03-19 15:38:43

60% of the Worst Fine Dust Seen in Early March Came from China

Anchor: When Korea was struck by the worst levels of fine dust earlier this month, many observers speculated that China was responsible for the air pollutants. KBS requested experts to look into the matter and they found that more than 60 percent of the dust particles had come from China.
Our Bae Joo-yon has more. 

Report: The first week of March saw serious levels of fine dust persist for over a week. 

Fine dust levels in Seoul surged to a record 135 micrograms per cubic meter daily on average while Sejong City in the central region saw its levels climb to 143 micrograms per cubic meter. 

KBS requested the Atmospheric Chemistry Modeling Group at Seoul National University to trace where the heavy concentrations of dust had come from. 

The lab conducted simulation tests based on weather conditions and found that around 60 percent of the dust that had blanketed the nation earlier this month had come from China. 

Lead researcher Park Rok-jin said the dust mainly came from the Shandong Peninsula, which is close to South Korea, and northern parts of China with large cities, including Beijing. 

Professor Park said air pollutants blowing in from China had accumulated after air stagnation continued unprecedentedly.

[Sound bite: Professor Park Rok-jin - Seoul National University, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (Korean)]
“South Korea began to be affected by fine dust from China at the end of February. Then, the dust reentered the nation after traveling to China via anti-cyclonic circulation. That’s likely why the dust levels were so high.”

The lab also analyzed the composition of the fine dust and found that ammonium nitrate accounted for more than 70 percent of the particles. This ammonium nitrate is likely to have been generated after exhaust gas from diesel cars running in large cities fused with ammonia from agricultural regions. 

[Sound bite: Professor Park Rok-jin - Seoul National University, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (Korean)]
“Nitrogenous compounds and ammonia produced in China generated ammonium nitrate and those substances made their way to South Korea.” 

Park said fine dust coming from diesel cars was a major threat to human health because it is more toxic than dust coming from factories and power plants. 
Bae Joo-yon, KBS World Radio News.

[Photo : YONHAP News]

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