SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, April 15, 2019 – Seoul introduces even more strengthened fine dust reduction measures. So far, it has taken long-term and leading approaches such as urging the National Assembly to pass eight fine dust reduction bills including the Special Act on Fine Dust Reduction and Management in order to facilitate changes. From now on, Seoul plans to focus on managing the pollutants stacked in the public residential areas.
Seoul came up with a plan to replace 100,000 engine-equipped two wheelers with electric motorcycles through a partnership with franchises and delivery service providers. Compared to small passenger cars, two-wheeled motorcycles with engines discharge six times more air pollutants. With an aim at reducing the number of diesel community buses to zero, Seoul will replace about 400 out of 1,580 community buses with electric buses from 2020. The buildings in Seoul are now required to replace 900,000 outdated boilers, the main cause of fine dust, with eco-friendly condensing boilers by 2020. As the legislation to mandate installation of condensing boilers from 2020 passed, it is expected to bring about a dramatic reduction in fine dust.
Three districts where small-sized air pollutant-producing facilities are concentrated, Gasan and Guro Digital Complexes, the Seongsu-dong area, and neighboring areas of Yeongdeungpo Station, are selected as test beds for intensive management. 100 IoT-based fine dust measuring devices are to be installed in places that require constant control such as large construction sites, gas stations, and printing houses, and the number of the devices will reach 2,500 by 2022.
Starting from July 1, the operation of fifth grade vehicles in the Green Transportation Zone within the Seoul City Wall will be restricted from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and a fine will be imposed for violation from December 1. The city government doubled the subsidy for the owners of 3,700 fifth grade vehicles within the Green Transportation Zone if they join the early disposal of cars.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced “10 thorough measures to combat fine dust” in three areas on April 15 to lessen the amount of pollutants that diminish the quality of citizens’ lives from every corner around the city.
The first main area is adoption of low emission vehicles to reduce the pollution level near main roads. Even though main roads require meticulous care as they are shared by both vehicles and citizens, they have remained neglected. Two wheelers with engines, diesel-powered community buses, and school buses are the main vehicles to be replaced.
○ Two-wheeled motorcycles with engines: Through cooperation with franchising companies and delivery service providers, Seoul will replace 100,000 two wheelers with electric motorcycles by 2025. The city government already carried out consultation with a number of franchise restaurants and deliver businesses, and 1,000 motorcycles will be replaced by the end of this year.
○ Small and medium-sized diesel-powered community buses: With declaration to reduce community buses to zero, Seoul will replace 444 small and medium-sized diesel buses traveling within villages with electric buses from 2020. A consultative body composed of bus unions and automobile companies is on operation from April to implement the plan.
○ School buses for children: The number of school buses to be replaced with eco-friendly vehicles is enlarged by a great deal to protect children who are more vulnerable to fine dust as they breathe more air than adults. Seoul also plans to replace 400 school buses with eco-friendly vehicles every year until 2022 along with a plan to provide subsidy to those who scrap their outdated school buses to encourage them to purchase green cars.
Secondly, Seoul controls fine dust generated from residential and commercial buildings. Now ventilation system will be controlled at maintenance office to improve indoor air quality. The number of fine-dust-free apartment buildings is expected to go up.
Although the apartment buildings that are built or remodeled from 2006 are equipped with ventilation system, most residents hardly know how to install and operate it. Seoul drafted a procedure to educate maintenance officers in each apartment complex on how to perform maintenance and filter replacement. Seoul also revised apartment building management regulations to accelerate the plan.
The city government puts its utmost efforts into promoting wide use of eco-friendly boilers and low NOx burners to reduce fine dust caused by heating.
○ Environment-friendly boilers for home use: As a bill to mandate installation of eco-friendly boilers passed, Seoul gears up its existing initiative to expand the use of eco-friendly condensing boilers. The city government quadrupled the number of eco-friendly boilers to be installed by the end of 2019 to 50,000. Outdated 900,000 boilers will also be replaced by 2022. Eco-friendly condensing boilers can reduce not only fine dust but also carbon dioxide, and the reduced amount of carbon dioxide is 191,200 tons, the amount about 2.9 million of 30-year-old pine trees take in.
○ Low NOx burners for commercial use: Boilers with two tons of capacity or more are now subject to special inspection more frequently due to strengthened emission standards. Seoul also plans to designate unregulated boilers as small-scale air pollutant-producing facilities while supporting the businesses that install low NOx burners.
Thirdly, Seoul focuses its sources on constructing a flawless air pollutant management system. The city government will closely monitor and manage the districts where small air-pollutant producing facilities or crowded multi-use facilities are concentrated to cut down the level of fine dust. At the same time, utilization of IoT-based fine dust measuring instruments is expected to enable the government to control pollution sources constantly throughout the city.
○ Test beds for intensive management: To reduce the vulnerable bracket’s exposure to fine dust, Seoul selected the Gasan and Guro Digital Complexes, the Seongsu-dong area, and nearby areas of Yeongdeungpo Station as test beds for intensive management. The city government will strictly monitor the air pollutant-producing facilities in the three districts while supporting programs designed to improve air quality.
○ Installation of IoT-based fine dust measure instruments: Seoul will install and manage 100 fine dust measure devices in areas that require consistent fine dust control such as large-scale construction sites, gas stations and printing houses within this year. In the long term, it plans to install 2,500 devices in every administrative division for thorough air quality control.
Fine dust-emitting facilities located in public areas will also be under intensive control. Reinforced crackdown will be implemented for polices buses in downtown and automobile repair shops in every neighborhood.
○ Police buses: Polices buses have been exempted from crackdown even though they discharged fine dust due to idling engines. Now police buses will be equipped with an extra generator dedicated for air conditioning and heating while engines are off. 30 generators will be distributed for the police buses stationed in the Green Transportation Zone in the first half year, and a total of 150 generators are to be installed to police buses on standby in other districts. In addition, the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the national government agreed to cooperate to shift diesel-powered police buses to electric and hydrogen-fueled buses.
○ Automobile repair shops and vehicle inspection stations: Seoul will perform intensive clampdown on car repair shops and vehicle inspection stations which cause fine dust in residential zones. The city government will regulate engine idling to prevent exhaust gases discharged when engine is cleaned using oxyhydrogen. It plans to submit proposals to enforce such facilities to install exhaust gas collectors and to empower special police officers to crackdown on illegal practices.
Seoul also has a plan to prohibit the access of grade 5 emission vehicles to Green Transportation Zone where 20,000 to 30,000 fifth grade vehicles pass through every day, emitting air pollutants.
As of July 1, a total of 2.5 million grade five emission cars around the nation will be restricted from entering the eight areas in Jongno-gu and seven areas in Jung-gu. Considering logistic flows in the zone, the grade five emission cars will be banned from accessing the zone from 6 a.m. to 7 or 9 p.m. during the grace period.
After July when a real-time vehicle management system to monitor the Green Transportation Zone is expected to be established, a mobile alarm message explaining the new policy will be sent to the drivers when their grade five emission cars enter the zone to prevent inconvenience and confusion.
Seoul raised the financial support from 1.65 million to 3 million won for the owners of 3,727 grade five emission cars residing in the Green Transportation Zone if they join the early car-scrap. The residents in the zone will also be on the priority list when they apply for devices to reduce gas emission.
The city government will minimize the inconvenience of the residents of the Green Transportation Zone by granting grace period once they apply to follow the low-pollution control measures. Also, the Seoul Metropolitan Government formulated various support programs to benefit the residents in the zone who scrap their pollutant-emitting cars. It plans to secure a large number of alternative means of transportation within the zone with an aim to increase the ratio of electric cars in the zone to 70 percent by 2022.
Low-income families can also receive the increased subsidies for early car disposal and installation of emission reduction devices. Seoul plans to put together diverse ways to support small businesses and low-income bracket for joining the emission reduction programs. Through consultation with the Ministry of Environment, it will raise the subsidies to 3 million won for those who join the early car scrap campaign as well.
Meanwhile, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will additionally allot a great deal of budget to combat fine dust. A total of 290 billion won including 172 billion won from the city coffers will be earmarked for implementation of the plans including subsidies for purchasing green cars and measures to cut down air pollutants and improve air quality.