SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, May 30, 2018 – In an effort to reduce the fine dust that seriously threatens the health of the citizens, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will prohibit old diesel-powered cars from entering the city from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on a day when a set of emergency fine-dust reduction measures is issued, starting from June 1, 2018.
According to a study conducted by the Seoul Institute in 2016, vehicular traffic is the second highest contributor (37%) of the fine dust generated in Seoul, while heating accounts for the most (39%). The World Health Organization has recently designated air pollutants emitted from diesel vehicles as first-class carcinogens. Their carcinogenic risk is 98.878%, which is overwhelmingly higher than that of gasoline-powered vehicles (0.991%).
Since the restriction on air pollutant-generated vehicles were introduced for the first time in Stockholm, Sweden in 1996, it has been one of the most aggressive measures to combat the fine dust in more than 200 cities in ten countries, including the U.K., Germany and France.
The City of Berlin has issued stickers to diesel vehicles according to their emission level since 2009, and allowed only cars with stickers of four-grade or more to enter the city from 2010, which resulted in the decrease in PM emissions by 58 percent and in NOx by 20 percent in 2010 compared to 2007.
In case of Paris, the government has been operating the “vehicle eco-friendly rating” system since 2016 to limit the operation of low-grade vehicles. As a result, the amount of PM-2.5 has been reduced by 15 percent and that of NOx by 20 percent in 2017.
The City of London, since 2008, has prohibited 3.5-ton or more diesel trucks throughout the city, and now plans to also limit the operation of gasoline cars and motorcycles if they get the low grade starting from 2019.
The City of Seoul has restricted the operation of 2.5-ton or more old diesel-powered vehicles that failed to install air pollutant reducing devices or were disapproved by the comprehensive vehicle testing among those registered before December in 2005 in Seoul and Incheon metropolitan areas and the Gyeonggi-do province.
According to the measure, the city government will crack down on old diesel cars entering the city and impose a fine of 100,000 won ($93) on vehicles in violation.
It is expected that it will reduce the amount of fine dust (PM-2.5) emission from diesel cars by about 20 percent to 40 percent.