SEOUL, June 2 (Korea Bizwire) – A new survey suggests over six in ten South Koreans do not wear a dust mask even on days when fine dust levels are reported as being harmful.
According to a survey conducted by Gallup Korea in celebration of World Environment Day next Monday, only 37 percent of the respondents said they wear a mask when a fine dust warning is issued, leaving more than six in ten people exposed to the harmful effects of fine dust particles on their health.
When broken down by the gender, women were more likely to wear a mask than men, as 46 percent of the female respondents said they do while only 27 percent of their male counterparts answered similarly.
When asked what puts people off wearing a dust mask, nearly 20 percent of the 628 respondents who tend to opt out of wearing one said they are uncomfortable to wear, while 13 percent said wearing one is bothersome.
The survey also revealed that 12 percent of the respondents holding a negative view of the dust mask said they don’t feel like it’s necessary to wear one.
The survey, which was conducted based on a sample of 1,300 respondents aged over 19 in South Korea, also revealed over eight in 10 people feel they have experienced inconvenience due to the growing problem of airborne fine dust.
Among the 82 percent who said they have been affected by fine dust issues one way or another, 57 percent said they were severely affected while 25 percent said they were somewhat affected by the growing problems of fine dust in the country.
Over four in ten people said they refrain from going out when fine dust levels are high.
When broken down by occupation, homemakers were most likely to stay at home when severe fine dust warnings are issued, with nearly 70 percent falling under the category.
On the other hand, only 24 percent of both blue-collar workers and students said they stay in when fine dust warnings are issued.
Amid growing concerns over fine dust, nearly four in ten households have an air purifier, according to the Gallup survey, up 250 percent from 11 years ago when the figure stood at 15 percent.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)