SEOUL, Feb. 27 (Korea Bizwire) — An increasing number of South Korean parents are considering moving to another country for their children as concerns over fine dust show no sign of stopping soon.
According to data released by Daumsoft at a symposium on fine dust issues today, the number of South Koreans considering emigration for environmental issues has risen tenfold over the last two years.
The number of online posts which include the keywords ‘fine dust’ and ‘immigration’ rose from 125 in 2015 to 1,418 in 2017, the big data analysis has revealed.
“The growing number of people considering emigration vouches for the fact that more parents now feel hopeless in a country where their children are having a harder time breathing,” said Song Gil-young, vice-president of Daumsoft.
Fine dust has been linked to a number of illnesses including sore throats, coughing, colds, and even depression in some cases.
Depression was mentioned significantly more often in connection with fine dust last year compared to 2013, up 22.3 times, data showed.
Similar to the government’s confusing analysis, South Koreans seem divided on the cause of fine dust issues in the country, with 59 percent of the online posts criticizing China.
“As we don’t know clearly whether the main cause of fine dust lies with China or Korea, many members of the public are feeling depressed, and even angry,” Song said.
Architecture professor Lee Myung-joo says buildings need to be built with wind flow in consideration, as fine dust particles caused by humans and cars are trapped within tall buildings.
“Though it is not easy to readjust wind flow in developed cities like Seoul, plans to plant tall trees in surrounding areas to build a ‘wind dam’ that creates fresh and cold air should be considered,” Lee said.
Following criticism over its effectiveness, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has scrapped its ‘free transport’ policy for heavily polluted days from today, with plans to introduce new countermeasures to tackle fine dust issues such as penalties for aging diesel vehicles.