SEOUL, Nov. 8 (Korea Bizwire) — The government said Thursday it will scrap all benefits given to low-emission diesel vehicles in an effort to eventually take diesel cars off the roads to help curb fine dust.
The decision to abolish the government’s “clean diesel policy” was part of a set of measures that the environment ministry reported to Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon during a weekly government policy coordination meeting.
Under the policy, the government has provided a series of benefits to diesel vehicles designed to release less emissions than other ordinary diesel cars do, including a reduction in parking fees and tolls.
About 950,000 diesel cars recognized by the government as low-emission cars have received such benefits so far. But the policy will be scrapped as part of efforts to remove all diesel cars from the roads by 2030, the ministry reported.
During the meeting, Lee instructed the government to establish an interagency team to come up with more efficient and bolder measures to tackle fine dust.
The meeting came a day after the worst fine dust of the season blanketed South Korea, forcing the government to take emergency measures to curb air pollution.
Lee said the government has taken a series of measures to curb fine dust since last year, including shutting down five aged coal-fired power plants and scrapping aged diesel-powered vehicles, leading to some improvements in air quality. Still, however, more needs to be done, he said.
“A series of factors are involved in fine dust, including domestic factors, such as power, industry, transportation and construction, as well as external factors, such as emissions in neighboring countries and atmospheric factors,” Lee said.
“Therefore, countermeasures must involve various ministries and agencies. The Office for Government Policy Coordination should form an interagency task force to put together more systematic and bolder measures,” he said.
Lee also called for strengthening cooperation with China to tackle the problem.