SEOUL, May 2 (Korea Bizwire) — Amid a grey haze of fine dust that continues to blanket South Korea, flower farms are seeing a ray of light as consumers flock to buy air-filtering plants to take the issue of air quality into their own hands.
The worsening air quality – the result of higher levels of pollution and fine dust in South Korea – is seeing flower farms enjoy soaring sales of air-filtering plants, the purchase of which emerged as a way to cope with the ongoing health concerns earlier this year.
As South Korean flower farm owners were among those most heavily hit by an anti-bribe law prohibiting individuals from exchanging gifts or buying meals for public officers, private school teachers and journalists, legislation that was introduced last September, they are welcoming the new trend in the gardening industry which is invigorating the market.
“The fine dust problem during the spring is helping the gardening industry in a most unexpected way,” said Han, a 50-year-old plant farmer who specializes in foliage plants in Daeso Town, North Chungcheong Province, an area known for being home to a considerable number of plant farms.
Amid growing demand for air-purifying plants in South Korea, this spring Han was able to sell some 8,000 rubber trees he grew through last winter.
Han said compared to last year, sales of Ficus elastica sofia, one of the most popular plants at his farm, increased 30 percent, and he is selling 200 to 300 plants on a good day.
Other popular types of plants include Zamioculcas, Sansevieria, Dypsis lutescens and cacti with air-purifying features.
According to research findings from the Rural Development Administration, East Indian fig trees, for instance, can reduce the ultra-fine dust particles that are the main cause behind grey haze in the sky by 67 percent in four hours when put in an empty room.
During the process of transpiration, these plants have a sticky layer of wax on their leaves which helps them to effectively capture find dust particles.
“To support flower farms and invigorate the market, measures encouraging planting and gardening at home need to be introduced, rather than treating plants as a mere gift for government offices like the past,” one official at the Korea Florist Agricultural cooperative said.