Dust levels in Seoul soar to four times normal amount, but relief is in sightUpdated: 2013-12-05 PM 2:37:35 (KST)
A cloud of smog and toxic dust have covered most of the nation since early this week, with average concentration levels that are two to three times higher than normal.
On Wednesday, particulate dust levels in Seoul reached nearly 200 micrograms per cubic meter -- nearly four times the amount observed on a normal day.
That's well beyond the precautionary level of 120 micrograms per cubic meter set by the National Institute of Environmental Research.
It's also more than seven times the level recommended by the World Health Organization, which has a standard of 25 micrograms per cubic meter.
In the southern industrial town of Pohang, dust levels reached nearly 300 micrograms per cubic meter on Wednesday, forcing the city to issue a preliminary dust warning for the first time this year.
The dust contains toxic pollutants, including heavy metals and bacteria, and health experts advise wearing a mask with a dust filter and avoiding being outdoors at dawn, when dust levels are at their peak.
But there's good news on the horizon.
Dust concentration levels are expected to decline gradually starting Thursday.
"The concentration may be high in the morning in Seoul and Chungcheong-do because of the fine-particle pollution coming from China, but the daily average is expected to return to normal today."
Meanwhile, foggy conditions are expected throughout the day under cloudy conditions.
Sohn Jung-in, Arirang News.