Seoul gov’t to reduce city air pollution by 10% before 2018

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Seoul gov’t to reduce city air pollution by 10% before 2018

Seoul will reduce air pollution by more than 10 percent by 2018, the city government announced Wednesday.

Last year, the average number of fine dust particles (PM 2.5) per cubic meter in Seoul equaled 23 micrograms.

“Given the fact that air pollution in Seoul isn’t created by the city alone, the goal of the city government to reduce it by 20 micrograms will require the city to do all it can,” said Seo Jeom-sook, official of the Climate and Environment Headquarters of the Seoul Metropolitan Government. “The Ministry of Environment set the same goal in air quality index, but its target year is 2021. The Seoul government is trying to do the same thing in a shorter time frame.”

According to the city government, 79 percent of air pollution in Seoul is influenced by factors outside of Seoul and Korea. But within the city, it says, 35 percent of air pollution is caused by vehicles.

Seoul said it will crack down on the 113,000 diesel vehicles weighing more than 2.5 tons which were registered before 2005. From 2017 onward, the city government will ask the vehicles’ owners to scrap the cars or install them with pollution reduction devices.

Furthermore, the city will restrict these old diesel vehicles from entering Seoul and the capital areas and anyone who violates the regulations twice will be fined up to 2 million won ($1,760).

It said it will increase the number of areas with CCTV cameras from seven to 61 in Seoul by 2019 to ensure it catches violators.

“The city will ask people to scrap their cars if they are so old that the pollution reduction devices cannot be attached,” said Im Byung-wook, a director of the Climate and Environment Headquarters, “and it will provide 100 percent of residual value for those vehicles.”

The city government plans to assist in the addition of 12,000 electric vehicles (EVs) to the city by installing more charging stations and EV-only parking lots.

There are currently some 2,120 EV drivers in the city, according to the city government.

It added that by 2018, 211 out of the city government’s 358 official vehicles will be EV.

In another measure to promote a greener city, a 16.7 square-kilometer (4,126-acre) area within the Seoul City Wall will be designated as a so-called green zone, where only public transportation will be allowed to pass. The policy plan is yet to be passed by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]

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