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Unwelcomed Guest, Fine Dust

기사승인 2017.06.22  15:13:31

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Summer is approaching and also fine dust is coming.  The Korea Meteorological Administration typically predicts spring to have about 5.4 days of bad fine dust days; however, in recent years that prediction has never been accurate.  Fine dust days have been steadily rising since 2012, until it soared to 49.8 days this year.  In 2015, that number went even higher to 74 days.  In 2015, Gyeonggi Province reported its worst ever dust and ozone levels, with only 13 days in March being “green”.  The increase in fine dust in the air can be attributed to dust traveling from China to Korea on westerly winds, the increased use of automobiles in Korea, and the use of fossil fuels in Korean factories.   The International Agency for Cancer Research has stated that the fine dust includes both asbestos and environmental tobacco smoke, both of which are known carcinogens.   Moreover, the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that the number of people who will die from respiratory diseases could reach 9 million by 2060.  Both the dust particles and heavy metal matter in the air increases human body oxidation and inflammation.  On April 5, 2017 Chioyeol, representative of an environment group, and Angyeongjae filed a lawsuit against the Korean and Chinese governments demanding to know future policies and to seek compensation for damage incurred by the increased fine dust.  This is the first ever lawsuit of its kind.  Air pollution is worsening and governments need to actively seek diplomatic resolutions across borders.  People should wear masks, long-sleeved shirts, and wash their hands frequently during high fine dust levels.  People have to wash the dust off their bodies as soon as they return home and brush their teeth as well.  Now more than ever is the need to eat a properly, especially plenty of fruit and vegetables.  It is also important to check the daily forecast and prepare properly.

 

Song Yoon Heejeong smt_shj@sm.ac.kr

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