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  • Seoul to strengthen policy to reduce fine dust with the Special Act and Ordinance on Fine Dust taking effect

  • SMG 255
    • – Starting from Feb. 15, emergency fine dust reduction measures go into effect and the operation of fifth grade vehicles to be restricted
    • – If the concentration of fine dust is expected to be extremely bad, schools, kindergartens and day-care centers are allowed to close or shorten their classes
    • – Fine dust filters and air purifiers to be installed on city buses and subway stations
    • – Certification standards for simplified measuring instruments to be made and the special management zone to be designated to conduct fine dust reduction measures

    SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, February 15, 2019 — The Seoul Metropolitan Government will implement a more systematic and strengthened policy to reduce fine dust with the Special Act on Fine Dust Reduction and Management (the “Special Act on Fine Dust”) and the Ordinance on Fine Dust Reduction and Management” (the “Ordinance on Fine Dust”) taking effect from February 15, 2019.

    Starting from Feb. 15, emergency fine dust reduction measures go into effect and the operation of fifth grade vehicles will be restricted

    Accordingly, when an emergency reduction measures against a high density of fine dust go into effect, the operation of fifth grade vehicles will be restricted from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. the next day, and a fine of 100,000 won will be imposed for the violation. The number of cars to be restricted reaches 400,000, which is an increase of around 80,000 from 320,000 diesel vehicles registered before December 31, 2005.

    To minimize inconvenience and confusion, some cars specified in the Enforcement Decree of the Special Act on Fine Dust will be excluded from the restriction, and the vehicles with a total weight of less than 2.5 tons and the ones registered outside the Seoul metropolitan area will be suspended until May 31. Excluded vehicles are stated on the Article 9 of the Enforcement Decree of the Special Act on Fine Dust, such as disabled person-driving vehicles and vehicles for special purposes for the nation, and those with emission gas reduction devices.

    Since approximately 2.45 million of fifth grade vehicles across the nation will be subject to the new regulations, it is necessary for drivers who have those vehicles to consider joining the early car-scrap or the emission reduction device installation program not to be disadvantaged by the low-pollution control measures.

    From 2003 to 2018, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has completed low-pollution control measures, including early disposal of cars and installing emission reduction devices, for a total of 375,000 cars, and it has notified 28,000 diesel-powered vehicles with a total weight of 2.5 tons or more to do so.

    This year, the city government will greatly increase its financial support to early-scrap vehicles, which have significant effects on improving the air environment, and continue to implement support programs for fifth grade diesel-fueled vehicles with a total weight of 2.5 tons and more to install diesel particulate filters or replace engines of construction machinery. In addition, it will support early disposal of construction machines, such as dump trucks, and purchase one-ton LPG-powered freight cars, as well as convert children’s school buses into a LPG-fueled cars.

    Schools, kindergartens and day-care centers are suggested to close or shorten the classes

    When an emergency fine dust reduction measures is issued, if the concentration of fine dust is expected to be extremely bad, schools, kindergartens and day-care centers are allowed to close or shorten their classes. In this case, kids and students are considered as being attended and additional teachers are dispatched to meet the needs for emergency care.

    The superintendents of schools are allowed to operate daycare programs and substitute programs. Meanwhile, protection measures have been already in place at kindergartens and schools with accepting it as an “absence from school due to illness” if the density of fine dust is bad enough, or parents contact schools in advance (via telephone, text messages, etc.).

    Shorten the construction (operation) time of dust-scattering construction sites and air pollutant-producing facilities

    In the event of emergency reduction measures, the construction time of the dust-scattering construction sites is shortened or rescheduled, and in the case of the air pollutant-producing facilities, the time and rate of operation can be changed.

    According to the Special Act on Fine Dust, the number of target construction sites has increased to 1,845 from 142 public-managed sites, including 1,703 private-owned ones. Especially 169 private construction sites that produce a lot of scattering dust will adjust the working hours while avoiding the morning rush hours.

    Regulations for punishment will be tightened against businesses that violate the emergency reduction measures – up to two million won will be imposed without any further action.

    To reduce fine dust emissions in air pollutant-producing facilities, the operation rate of cogeneration plants is lowered by 20 percent and that of resource recovery facilities and sewage treatment centers by up to 40 percent, respectively.

    Protect the citizens using public transportation from fine dust

    In an effort to protect the citizens who use public transportation from fine dust, fine dust improvement measures are being implemented on city buses and subway trains and platforms. From the second half of 2018, fine dust filters have been being installed on 4,967 buses (67.1 percent) out of 7,405 in total, and by the end of 2019 they will be completely installed on all city buses considering the buses’ air conditioners’ standards and degree of deterioration.

    As to subway trains, 200 new electric trains equipped with air quality improvement devices have been introduced as of the end of 2018, and additional 100 trains will be added this year. The existing trains will have fine dust removal filters installed in their air conditioning systems.

    16 air purifiers will be installed at Gangnam Station and Suyu Station for the pilot operation. After analyzing the results, they will be set up at all of subway stations. Also, mechanical water cleaning (wet cleaning) will be expanded to 235 underground stations from the current 99 except ones that mechanical water cleaning is not applicable.

    Provide reliable measurements and customized services

    There have been disorders to some degree in fine dust measurement information due to lack of certification standards for simplified measuring instruments. However, when the system is implemented in August 2019, at least grade 2 performance-certified measuring instruments will be used to provide reliable data to the citizens.

    The enhanced Seoul City Air Environment Information System will provide real-time air quality information of each one square-kilometer of the neighborhood. The management of pollutant-emission sites will be tightened especially in areas with high density of fine dust.

    The area where facilities many used by children and elderly people are concentrated will be designated as the special management zone to conduct fine dust reduction measures. Customized fine dust reduction services in each neighborhood will be discovered and carried out through the public contests.