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China accounts for one fifth of S. Korea's fine dust: Study
Updated: 2020-01-13 16:17:15 KST
China's impact on fine dust levels in South Korea differs from season to season.
China contributes to 17 percent of South Korea's fine dust in spring, 30% in summer, 12 percent in autumn, and 21 percent in winter ,resulting in an average of 19 percent annually.
That's according to a Chinese research team from Duke Kunshan University, who analyzed the concentration of fine dust, wind speed and temperature for 16 South Korean cities over a 9-year period.
The research team says that the one fifth of Korea's fine dust that is caused by China is not a small amount.
The team pointed to Chinese farms burning rice straw, and operations of coal power plants as the main contributors to the fine dust.

"Burning rice straw is very likely to account for the contribution in summer. In winter, it's the coal power plants, and in spring the yellow dust. But in the north, the coal power plants are still running in spring due to the cold weather."

Researchers say, however, ultrafine dust levels were not included in the study due to the lack of data, and China's impact could be bigger once ultrafine dust is included.
According to a joint study by South Korea, China, and Japan, 32% of South Korea's ultrafine dust pollution came from China.

"Fine dust flies a long distance between countries. In order to fly, the particles must be small and light. Once ultrafine dust, particles under 2.5 cubic micrograms, is analyzed, the contribution rate could be much bigger."

The study is considered meaningful as it employed methodological tools used in social science to confirm the effect of transboundary fine dust rather than only using pre-existing atmospheric science tools.
Choi Jeong-yoon, Arirang News.
Reporter : jychoi@arirang.com