News / Asia

Seoul Residents Express Concern as Smog from China Hits City

A woman looks at central Seoul shrouded in heavy haze at an observation platform at
A woman looks at central Seoul shrouded in heavy haze at an observation platform at "N Seoul Tower" located atop Mt. Namsan in central Seoul, Feb. 27, 2014.
Reuters
Seoul residents expressed concern about smog blowing from central China on Thursday, with many people seen heading out wearing face masks.
      
The National Institute of Environmental Research said Seoul's daily average of the density of airborne particles less than 10 micrometers, also called PM10 concentrations, reached 81-124 micrograms on Thursday.
      
South Korea's Air Quality Information department classified the concentration of PM10 at a level of three out of six, six being the most hazardous.
 
The smog contains toxic heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and arsenic.
 
Residents said they were worried about the pollution.
 
“My bronchial tubes are in a weak condition, and my throat feels very bad when I am outside. Today I watching the news reporting that the density of the fine dust is two or three times higher than usual. I'm worried about my health so I bought masks and came out,” said 27-year-old Kim Bo-yeon.
 
The polluted air also forced residents to reduce outdoor activities.
 
“The air is polluted badly due to the fine dust for about a week. I heard that it's coming from China, so I'm worried because it's bad environmentally. I came here by taxi, and the driver is also concerned a lot. I came out with my children together today for an appointment, but I'm bit worried. So we headed out wearing masks,” said 45-year-old Lee Yoon-kyung.
 
Local media said winds are expected to bring elevated levels of particulate matter and pollution to South Korean cities, which might get worse when Chinese power plants start burning massive amounts of coal for heating during the winter period.
 
“The recent fine dust is featured by the combination between the sulfide compounds of China's coal heating and industrial area and nitrogen compounds from South Korea's car exhaust fumes. These sulfate and nitrates have a bad influence on bronchial tubes and lungs. Meanwhile, the four-day-long accumulated fine dust is now gradually disappearing, but it's still in the status of ‘Quite Bad.’ So, children, the old and infants, as well as people who suffer from respiratory diseases must be careful,” said South Korea senior researcher Chang Lim-seok, from the air quality team of the Korea Meteorological Administration.
 
Severe pollution in Beijing has made it “barely suitable” for living, according to an official report published earlier this month, and despite numerous measures aimed at improving air quality in recent years, Beijing still regularly suffers from choking smog.
 
Chinese authorities have ordered factories to shut and construction sites to stop work to reduce pollution levels.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs