Fine dust reduction measures take effect in Korea
SEOUL — Emergency fine dust reduction measures started to take effect for Seoul, Incheon and much of Gyeonggi Province on Wednesday, as fine dust in the atmosphere has shot up to unhealthy levels.
The measures kicked in at 6 a.m. and will last until 9 p.m., according to the Environment Ministry.
Civil servants are to follow “the alternate driving day system,” meaning civil servants’ cars with license plates that end in odd numbers will be allowed on the streets and even will not. Seoul is set to temporarily close 360 public parking lots.
Free public transportation will not be provided as the Seoul government canceled the policy in February.
Aged diesel vehicles registered before Dec. 31, 2005 that weigh over 2.5 tons will be banned from Seoul roads during the period of 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Drivers who fail to comply will have to pay a fine of 100,000 won ($88).
The emergency measures were announced as the hourly average of PM 10 fine dust particles reached 50 micrograms per cubic meter in the air in Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province. The forecast for Wednesday is expected to exceed 50 micrograms, as well.
An ultrafine dust advisory remains in place for Seoul, while levels are bad in 12 cities and provinces, including Daegu, Incheon, Gwangju and Gyeonggi Province, as well as in the North and South Chungcheong, North and South Jeolla, and North Gyeongsang provinces.
Authorities have advised citizens to use protective masks outdoors and cautioned those with health issues as well as children and the elderly to stay indoors.
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