The Korean Peninsula was once again covered under a thick blanket of fine dust earlier this week and the South Korean government issued emergency fine dust reduction measures for the first time this winter season. To deal with the fine dust issue, the government also launched the National Council of Climate and Air Quality back in June. For more on fine dust in South Korea and how the government plans to tackle the issue, atmospheric sciences professor Kim Jhoon who's also a member of Science and Technology Committee at the National Council of Climate and Air Quality, joins us on our program. Welcome, professor.
1. It's not an exaggeration to say that the fine dust issue has now become one of the biggest environment issues that ordinary citizens in South Korea face and are aware of on a day-to-day basis, as this dust has a severe impact on health. How serious are the fine dust levels in Korea, in scientific and numerical terms, and how does Korea's air quality compare to other countries?
2. I believe our viewers currently living in Seoul would be most curious about how severe the fine dust will be this winter. What's your forecast for this winter's fine dust level, compared to last year?
3. South Korea has long pointed at China as where the fine dust blows from. So the three countries of South Korea, China and Japan conducted joint studies to analyze the causes of fine dust in the region. The results were announced last month and it says 32-percent of ultrafine dust in South Korea comes from China, and the Chinese government acknowledged its responsibility for that for the first time. What does this mean? And what are some other causes of fine dust in Korea?
4. Then I believe there would need to be separate measures to deal with the different causes of fine dust. If China's air quality improves, then would that naturally lead to a better atmosphere in Korea as well? And what are some other measures that we can take?
5. To tackle the fine dust issue on a national level, the Korean government launched the National Council of Climate and Air Quality back in June. Please tell us about the council.
6. One of the measures that the Korean government came up with is the seasonal fine dust management system, which is to be effective from this month until March next year. What is this policy and how effective does the government expect this to be?
7. Earlier this week, South Korea decided on its budget for next year and what we have to note here is that the budget for the environment ministry was increased by 21% compared to this year. Now, this is so that a large portion of the budget could be spent to reduce the fine dust and improve the air quality. What government policy do you think is necessary to come up with a fundamental solution to the fine dust issue?
8. I think it'd also be good for us to look at cases of other countries that experienced environment pollution while seeing rapid economic growth. Are there any such cases?
9. The United Nations designated November 15th as "Blue Sky Day" following President Moon Jae-in's proposal at the UN General Assembly in September. This is the first international day designated by the UN on South Korea's lead and we've heard that the council you're in suggested the idea. What significance will this day have in improving the air quality?
10. As an atmospheric sciences expert and science and technology professional within the National Council of Climate and Air Quality, any final comments on what the government and the citizens have to work on to reduce fine dust?