SEOUL, June 3 (Korea Bizwire) – With rising concerns over the increasing prevalence of fine dust particles in the atmosphere, the Korean government has revealed plans to regulate diesel vehicles as part of its efforts to tackle the issue.
Diesel cars have recently been pointed out as one of the major sources of fine dust emissions.
The Ministry of Environment stood firm in its position to raise the price of diesel fuel, but was faced with opposition from the Ministry of Strategy and Finance and the conservative Saenuri party, which claimed that raising the price was just another form of a tax hike, making the lives of ordinary citizens more difficult.
Saenuri’s chief policy maker, Kim Gwang-lim said in a briefing Thursday that the party requested that the government not include any policies that might encumber the lives of ordinary citizens.
In fact, the Korea Federation of Micro Enterprise made a public statement on May 31 saying that raising diesel prices would hurt small independent businesses that often use mini-trucks or vans to transport goods, and that it would also result in higher public transportation fares and electric bills, further affecting ordinary citizens.
The government eventually said Friday that it would toughen restrictions on old diesel vehicles and coal-powered thermal power plants to battle the fine dust issue.
Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn said in a meeting with top officials from multiple state agencies that the government plans to limit the entry of old diesel vehicles into the Seoul metropolitan area, and further encourage environmentally-friendly means of transportation such as CNG (compressed natural gas) buses, electric vehicles, and hydrogen vehicles. It will also toughen the emissions standards for diesel vehicles.
Hwang also said that the government would shut down old coal-powered electric power plants and impose higher environmental standards on new plants to reduce emissions.
Fine dust refers to particles that are smaller than 10 micrometers, which have been known to cause various respiratory problems while also affecting the body’s immune system.
By Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)