SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, November 21, 2019 – The Seoul Metropolitan Government unveiled its plan to implement seasonal particle pollution control measures from December 1 till the end of March 2020.
The newly announced preventive measures will be enforced during the months from winter to early spring, when the levels of particulate matter go up significantly. It is the first implementation at the local level of the Korean government’s special countermeasures against high PM concentration episodes voted in November 1 2019.
Over the past three years, 72 percent of the days with PM2.5 levels exceeding 50 ㎍/㎥ have fallen between December and March. The city government took emergency measures to reduce the level of PM for seven consecutive days in March this year, only to see the daily average fine dust level hit the record high at 135㎍/㎥, proving the limited effects of the existing remedial measures.
With its newly unveiled seasonal control measures, the Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to implement the following nine tasks to reduce emissions from transport, heating, and industry, the three culprits behind particle pollution in Seoul, and also minimize citizens’ exposure to air pollution.
※ 9 key tasks under the seasonal control measures
|Area||Task||Expected Date of Implementation|
|Transport||Driving ban on emission-grade 5 vehicles at all time||Shortly after the amendment to the “Special Act on Fine Dust” is done|
|Alternate no-driving on administrative and municipal fleet||December 1, 2019|
|Surcharges at municipal parking lots||January 2020 – (Publicity in December)|
|Heating||Introduction of special points under Eco-Mileage program||December 1, 2019|
|Tight control on indoor temperatures of large buildings||December 1, 2019|
|Industry||Inspection of all businesses releasing high air pollutants||December 1, 2019|
|Installation of pollution reducing devices on old construction equipment and expansion of bans on dirty old construction equipment operation||Attachment of dust-reducing devices (Jan. 2020~) restriction on the use (Jan. 2020 ~)|
|Minimization of air pollution reduction||Reinforcement of road cleaning||December 1, 2019|
|Expansion of indoor air quality examination for multi-use facilities and places used by individuals with health vulnerability||December 1, 2019|
The key action in the transportation area is to enforce the mandatory “Alternate No-Driving Day” on all 1,051 public vehicle fleet in Seoul starting from December 1. The other is the enforcement of the ban on emission-grade 5 vehicles from entering the city center at all time. These two measures had been actively pursued by the city government before the launch of the seasonal control measures.
Extra charges (up to 50 percent) will also be newly imposed at public parking lots to discourage citizens from driving during the months when the seasonal control measures are enforced. Parking fees will increase by 50 percent for emission-grade 5 vehicles at the 108 city-run parking lots across Seoul, and the charges will go up by 25 percent for all vehicles and by 50 percent for vehicles with grade 5 at 24 municipal parking lots located within the green transport area. It will go into effect in January 2020 following a one-month publicity on these stricter measures in December.
Moreover, the city will reinforce its management and inspection of businesses that emit high air pollutants. During the seasonal control period, the Seoul Metropolitan Government and its district offices will set up a joint task force to inspect around 4,000 businesses and construction sites in the city along with a civic watchdog team(two persons from each district) for their emissions levels.
To minimize the public’s exposure to particle pollution on roads, the city will clean the roads designated as the focused cleaning areas (158 kilometers) in each district more than twice a day during the seasonal control period. Daily road-cleaning lengths will be extended from 50 kilometers to 60 kilometers.
The following seven supporting actions will also be taken to ensure the effectiveness of the seasonal control measures: 1) designation of “focused particle pollution control area”; 2) expansion of support for setting up tailored prevention equipment in small businesses; 3) expansion of support for odor and fine dust reduction device installations at restaurants; 4) deployment of eco-friendly boilers; 5) provision of information on particulate matter collected from increased number of low-cost censors; 6) strengthening international cooperation in East Asia; and 7) identify new technologies for particle pollution reduction.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government aims to reduce the average levels of PM2.5 in Seoul by 20 percent through the seasonal measures.