SEOUL, May 29 (Korea Bizwire) – Seoul is ramping up its efforts to tackle fine dust, with the latest target being diesel vehicles with high emissions levels.
At an open forum on fine dust measures held last Saturday at Seoul Plaza, Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon made a surprise announcement about possible measures to tackle the problem of fine dust, including stricter air quality standards, a citywide ban on aging diesel vehicles, the mandatory use of environmentally-friendly construction equipment, and more efforts to work with neighboring countries to develop environment policy.
The proposed ban barring aging diesel cars from entering the four main gates of old Seoul that surround the heart of the South Korean capital has proved popular in particular, as nearly 80 percent of the citizen participants at the fine dust forum approved of the idea.
The mounting support shown last weekend is likely to see the Seoul government proceed with an anti-diesel car policy, which will see an area in the center of the city designated for special air pollution measures.
When the ban takes effect, it could not only affect aging diesel vehicles, but also tour buses and regular vehicles.
The South Korean central government is also said to be considering a number of environmental measures targeting diesel cars including raising fuel taxes and a complete ban on all diesel cars by 2030.
According to statistics from the National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER) released in 2015, diesel cars accounted for nearly 30 percent of the air pollution in Seoul and its surrounding areas.
In response to further measures proposed including less reliance on coal-fueled power plants, an environment tax and more pressure on the Chinese government, Park said, “These are options that the central government can address. As I have a close relationship with the Blue House, I will open dialogue and work closely with the central government to fulfill those expectations.”
The latest move from the Seoul Metropolitan Government is set to also consider fine dust as a ‘disaster’ and enact its own fine dust warning system with standards stricter than the current national standards, while offering complimentary fine dust masks and helping provide air purifiers to those most vulnerable, such as toddlers, children, the elderly and pregnant women.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)