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Airpocalyps, Hazard Of Fine Dust

기사승인 2019.04.08  18:27:17

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PHOTO FROM HANKYOREH

Airpocalyps, Hazard Of Fine Dust 1)

In March, Korea was covered with gray dust for an entire four days straight. Because of the unusual four-day block with ultra-high concentrations of fine dust, disaster warnings were issued and two-part vehicle system was carried out. Most citizens wore masks, but some who did not could be seen coughing. Buildings and mountains, usually visible, disappeared into the dust. The nation suffered from diseases caused by the fine dust, and ‘ultrafine dust mask’ became the second most searched phrase online. Recently, Korean Federation for Environmental Movement tells that fine-dust problem is man-made disaster, so people are starting to recognize that fine dust is caused by human pollution and not a naturally occurring phenomenon. The reason why people so resent is because fine dust is deadly critical for their lives. Due to its extremely small size, the dust particles cannot be filtered by the nose or trachea causing serious illnesses throughout the body. For the eyes, if they are exposed directly to the fine dust, it can cause corneal inflammation, eye dryness, and even vision loss. Fine dust that penetrates deep into the body has an adverse effect on the heart and brain. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has already designated fine dust as a first-grade carcinogen. In other words, the air is toxic. Currently, The National Petition Board on matters related to fine dust exceeded 100,000 signatures on March 25.
A new coined word for serious air pollution and tragedies caused by fine dust has been created.  It is 'Airpocalypse', and it’s a combination of ‘air’ and ‘apocalypse’.  In short, it means collapse. Financial Times, the British media, referred to China's air pollution as the ‘Airpocalypse’. Recently, however, Korea is no longer safe from the threat of it, either. Many people cite the impact of neighboring countries like China for the problem because of wind currents that blow the dust from those nations. High density fine dust is also caused by factories and coal-fired electrical power plants located along the China East Sea costal line. Satellite images confirm they are unregulated. The fine dust is forecasted to worsen the future of Korea because with the Chinese government established a large number of huge garbage incinerators along the eastern coastline near South Korea. People suffering from the fine dust, especially those whose life and health are compromised, are increasingly voicing their opinions.  The current fine dust problem needs a diplomatic solution as it is not a natural phenomena. The government needs to come up with measures to remedy the problem as soon as possible.

1) Park Eunho and Kim Hyoin, “227 More Incinerators Are Built in China, East Coast, etc.”, Chosun Ilbo, March 27, 2018

Choi Cho Huiryung smt_chr@sookmyung.ac.kr

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