SUWON, March 30 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s most populous province has said it will continue its policy of distributing fine dust masks for free on buses when fine dust levels are high, after the air pollution emergency measure was rated favorably by 8 out of 10 bus riders.
For a two-day period starting on March 26, Gyeonggi placed 36,000 free masks on 185 buses after excessive fine dust triggered emergency response measures throughout the Seoul-Gyeonggi-Incheon area.
In a survey of 520 passengers who had ridden the buses stocked with the mask giveaways, 78 percent said “the free mask policy must also be carried out in the future”.
The survey also found that 63 percent were aware of the free mask program, 28 percent took and used a free mask and 48 percent always wore a mask when going outdoors.
The surveyed individuals said increased cooperation with China should be the first and foremost concern of South Korea’s fine dust management policy. Following that, concentrated inspections of fine dust generating business sites, expanded precise air quality measurement and information sharing, and the installation of air purifiers in publicly-used facilities were actions that needed to be taken.
Gyeonggi said it would expand the budget for the mask program going forward to increase the supply of masks for distribution to 3.75 million.