– The SMG runs ‘Ozone Alert Situation Room’ from 12 to 18 during May 1 to September 15 with the Institute of Health and Environment and autonomous districts.
– Daily forecast and warnings per stage will be offered, based on the ozone concentration level estimated from the 25 Urban Air Monitoring Stations
– Ozone Alert will be swiftly issued through various medium, including faxes, audio warning, electronic displays, SNS and text messages
– In case of the ozone concentration level is 0.12ppm/hr or higher, ozone alert will be sent to 150,000 citizens.
– When the ozone concentration level is expected to increase, the forewarning will be issued to the factories, autonomous districts and the education offices.
– Citizens who want to be notified of ozone alerts through text message can apply for the service at the SMG’s air quality information website
– The SMG official said, “At the issuance of ozone alert, it is best for the elderly and the infirm and children to stay inside and citizens are recommend to use public transportation.
The Seoul metropolitan government runs the ‘Ozone Alert Situation Room’ from May 1 to September 15 in order to protect public health from harmful effects of ozone, of which concentration in the atmosphere tends to increase during spring and summer.
The situation room is operated from 12 to 18 everyday, including weekends and holidays. The SMG will operate the situation room in collaboration with the Institute of Health and Environment and environment departments of 25 autonomous districts.
< Daily forecast and warnings per stage will be offered based on the ozone concentration level estimated from the 25 Urban Air Monitoring Stations
The real time ozone concentration level is measured from the 25 Urban Air Monitoring Stations. The whole downtown is divided into five districts and forecast and warning for each district will be provided.
The daily estimated ozone concentration of each district will be available at 6p.m. on the previous day and 7 a.m. on the day from the SMG’s air quality information webpage: http://cleanair.seoul.go.kr
Depending on the concentration in the atmosphere, one of three stages of ozone warning is issued; ozone alert for 0.12ppm/hr or higher, ozone warning for 0.3ppm/hr or higher, and ozone grave warning for 0.5ppm/hr or higher concentration.
In case of issuance of the ozone alert, citizens are advised to take the following precautionary measures; to restrain from engaging in outdoor activities, to take public transportation rather than driving a car, not to start or continue tasks that can enhance the ozone level such as painting or using thinners. In particular, the elderly and young children as well as patients with respiratory diseases are advised to stay indoors.
In case of issuance of the ozone warning, all the residents within the district should refrain from going out, kindergartens and schools should stop outdoor activities, and driving of all the vehicles of non-commercial use will be limited.
In case of issuance of the ozone grave warning, all the residents within the district will be banned from going outdoors or exercising stringently, kindergartens and schools should be closed, vehicles are banned from passing through the district and large scale factories should shorten their operation hours.
In 2012, ozone alert has been issued six times for three days in three districts, while in 2013, there had been 18 times of ozone alert for nine days in four districts. Since the ozone warning system of Seoul was established in 1995, there has not been a single case of ozone warning and grave warning issuance.
※ The recent trend of ozone warning issuance (2012~2013)
In general, ozone can be categorized into two groups; stratospheric ozone and ground level ozone. The former type of ozone works as a shield for the earth by absorbing harmful Ultra Violet radiation (UV) emitted from the sun. On the other hand, the ground level ozone, usually created from air pollutants, is detrimental to health.
〈Harmful effects of ground level ozone >
Ground Level Ozone is caused when the sun reacts with pollutants from cars and industrial plants to form ozone at or near the surface of earth. It is created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the presence of sunlight. Emissions from industrial facilities and electric utilities, motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, and chemical solvents are some of the major sources of NOx and VOC.Every year, from May to September, ground level ozone is often created during a day as there is much sunlight and the air is largely stagnated. As a result, ozone concentration level within the 1~2km above the ground is increased.
Unlike stratospheric ozone that protects creatures of the earth as it absorbs harmful Ultra Violet radiation (UV) from the sun, ground level ozone, usually created from air pollutants, have negative effects on human body.
When a person without respiratory problems is exposed to the ozone of concentration at 0.12ppm/hr or higher for an hour, the person’s eyes and respiratory organs get minor effects from the exposure. However, those with respiratory problems and the old and the infirm can have severe health problems when exposed to the equivalent amount of the ozone for an hour.
In particular, citizens need to be cautious against harmful effects of the high concentration of ozone in the atmosphere during May to September, as the temperature is usually higher than 25℃ and there are much sun light and as people tend to spend more time outside. When they are exposed to the ozone during this season, their eyes and respiratory organs can be negatively affected.
< Ozone Alert will be swiftly issued through various medium, including faxes, audio warning, electronic displays, SNS and text messages>
Ozone alert will be swiftly issued through various medium, including faxes, audio warning to 640 spots including relevant agencies and the media as well as 22,466 places including apartment complex, old palaces, parks, and subways.
By utilizing the total of 768 electronic displays in Seoul including 13 air quality displays, 729 bus information displays, and 26 transportation information displays, the SMG will convey the alert messages with recommended precautionary measures. To convey the information to citizens on the move or outside, the SMG will issue the alert through its SNS, including Facebook and Twitter.
In addition, each autonomous district will convey the message to 150,000 residents including social welfare workers and caretakers of the single household elderly, so that the alert can reach to the vulnerable including the elderly and the infirm.
< In case the ozone concentration level is expected to increase, the forewarning will be issued to the factories, autonomous districts and the education offices>
When the ozone concentration level is expected to increase, the SMG will send forewarnings to the factories which emit large amount of air pollutants, autonomous districts and the education offices, and transportation broadcast stations, helping them to brace for the higher ozone concentration in advance.
In case of ozone concentration level of 0.081ppm/hr or higher, the SMG will ask power plants, incineration plants,and factories which emit large amount of air pollutants to adjust their operation time.
In case of ozone concentration level of 0.11ppm/hr or higher, the SMG will notify autonomous districts and the education offices, and transportation broadcast stations in advance so that relevant agencies can take necessary measures.
< Citizens who want to be notified of ozone alerts through text message can apply for the service at the SMG’s air quality information website>
In the meantime, any citizens who want to receive ozone alert via text messages can apply for the service at the SMG’s air quality information website, http://cleanair.seoul.go.kr.
Also, citizens can check the ozone alert, warning and recommended precautionary measures on the mobile Seoul webpage, http://m.seoul.go.kr/mw/eco/AirMain.do.
Choi Young-Soo, a general manager of the Climate and Air Quality Department of the SMG said, “When the ozone alert is issued, the elderly and the infirm as well as children should refrain from going outside, and citizens are recommended to take public transportation instead of driving cars, so that NOx and VOCs emissions will be reduced. We are committed to protect public health from the harmful effects of ozone by measuring real time air quality and by operating the precise and swift ozone alert and warning system 24/7until September.”
< Recommended Actions to Reduce Ozone Concentration Level during Summer>
– Vehicles emit VOC and NOx, thus, it is recommend to take public transportation or use car pools.
– Refrain from unnecessary idling of cars. Idling engines will lead to waste of fuels as well as increased emission of pollutants from the vehicles.
– In case of moving to a walkable distance, try walking or riding a bike instead of driving.
– Turn on the car air conditioner only when necessary. Depending on the air conditioner usage, emissions form a car differs.
-In case of driving, keep the economic speed of 60㎞/h～80㎞/h and refrain from abrupt accelerating or braking.
-Make sure your car maintains the best condition through regular inspections and repairs. Cars in best condition consume less fuels, which results in the increase of fuel efficiency by 8~12%, which will save the cost of fuels.
-Do not overload your vehicle. When there are more loads on a car, more pollutants will be emitted. Check whether there are unnecessary burdens or objects inside of the car.
– Keep the air pressure of the car tires at the proper level. Too high or too low air pressure of tires will lead to more fuel consumption, which will lead to more emissions.
– Conserve energy.
– Try to refueling in the morning or in the evening rather than daytime, when the ozone concentration level tends to increase. In case of refueling, avoid filling the tank to the fullest level.
– Refrain from daytime refueling can reduce the ozone concentration level as the emission of VOC during daytime is decreased.
– Refrain from using oil paint and sprays during summer time.