SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, November 21, 2018 — The Seoul Metropolitan Government’s low-emission measures to improve air quality during the year of 2018 have been paid off, with drastically reducing the volume of fine dust and Nitrogen dioxide (NOx). The measures include an early scrapping of older diesel-fueled vehicles and an installation of diesel particulate filter (DPF).
From January through October 2018, the Seoul Metropolitan Government had carried out the low-pollution program for a total of 29,957 vehicles: including early-scrapping of 21,986 vehicles, installing DPFs (engine retrofitting for zero emissions (LPG engine), etc.) on 7,372 vehicles and adding devices reducing both fine dust and nitrogen oxides to 77 vehicles and 522 construction machinery. These efforts are proved to be effective to reduce air pollutants worth 57.64 tons of PM-2.5 and 702.45 tons of NOx.
In particular, among the low-emission measures, the most effective way to reduce NOx, classified as a Category 1 carcinogen, is to add PM-NOx devices to old diesel vehicles, and to change engines of construction machinery. The amount of reduced NOx per full-size diesel vehicle was 500.26kg a year; and that per engine-changed construction machinery stood at 288.73kg a year, respectively. This is a good example to show why the low-pollution scheme is continuously needed for old big cars and construction machinery.
With the implementation of the city government’s low-pollution program, the emission and concentration of fine dust have been greatly improved. The emission of fine dust (PM-2.5) in 2015 amounted to 1,314 tons, decreased by 239 tons in four years from 1,553 tons in 2011.
Compared to the amount of 2005 and 2017 (2005 was when the measures were officially started after the two-year pilot period from 2003), the fine dust had been decreased from 58㎍/㎥ to 44㎍/㎥, and the nitrogen oxide (N02) had been improved from 34 ppb to 30 ppb, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Korean government has been tightening the management of diesel-powered vehicles – it raised the amount of subsidies for early-scrapping vehicles (currently up to KRW 4.4 million to 7 million), and abolished the “clean diesel policy,” which argued that diesel cars had a higher fuel efficiency compared to gasoline cars.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government also plans to aggressively conduct the low-pollution measures, such as the encouragement of early car-scrapping and the restriction of driving old diesel vehicles registered before 2005 – As of November 7, the vehicles registered before December 31, 2005, have been being restricted to their operations in a bid to protect the citizens from a high concentration of fine dust. A total of 1,189 violated vehicles will be fined KRW 100,000. If they pay it no later than the prior notice period, their penalty will be lowered by 20% in accordance with the Article 16 and Article 18 of Act on the Regulation of Violations of Public Order.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government will focus on early car-scrapping program, considered as the most effective way to improve air pollution among other low-pollution measures. It will scrap the vehicles registered before June 2002, and install low-emission devices on less old vehicles run for commercial and livelihood purposes.
It also plans to complete its low-pollution measures by 2020. According to the plan, among 193,000 vehicles registered before 2005, 2.5-ton cars or more will be early scrapped, or DPF will be installed.