SEOUL, May 29 (Korea Bizwire) — Nearly 1 in 2 children in South Korea have experienced health issues caused by fine dust, and 3 out of 10 have missed official outdoor events, such as going to school or going on school trips, when fine dust levels were severely high.
The Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (KIHASA) reported on Wednesday that fine dust negatively impacts a child’s quality of life by limiting the child’s opportunity to engage in outdoor activities.
In a survey conducted on 1,000 people with children over 12 years old, 44.5 percent said that their children experienced health issues due to fine dust, 87 percent of whom went to the hospital for treatment.
Among parents, 30.9 percent did not send their children to school or other official outdoor events when fine dust levels were severely high, while 41.7 percent stopped their children from engaging in private activities, such as family gatherings, meetings with friends, and other leisure activities.
On a scale of one to ten, fine dust significantly impacted children’s lives in ‘cultural and leisure activities’ (8.3), ‘physical health’ (8.1), and ‘quality of life’ (8). Respondents also believed that fine dust impacted children’s stress (6.6).
Seniors were also exposed to stress caused by fine dust. In a survey conducted on 1,000 people over 65 years of age, 25.5 percent said they had experienced health issues due to fine dust, 40.9 percent of whom had to receive treatment at a hospital.
As for the means to tackle fine dust, most parents made their children wash their face, hands, and feet (94.2 percent), wear a mask (93.6 percent), and refrain from going outdoors (89.4 percent).
Many seniors closed their windows and refrained from ventilating (77.8 percent), washed their face, hands, and feet (73.3 percent), and wore a mask (63.5 percent).
Single-parent households, parents with low education, senior citizens living alone, low-income seniors, and other vulnerable groups were highly exposed to the dangers of fine dust.
In particular, 68.5 percent of senior citizens did not own an air purifier.
“Fine dust negatively impacts physical and psychological health of both children and the elderly,” said Lee Sang-jeong, a researcher at the KIHASA.
“Stronger measures are needed to tackle fine dust and improve the quality of life among citizens, as well as consideration for the socially and economically vulnerable groups.”
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)