In order to combat high levels of fine dust particles, South Korea will temporarily close around quarter of its coal-fired plants during coldest months.
14 plants would be vacated between December and February and around 27 in March, said the country’s energy ministry. The ministry also added that closures would not affect energy supplies during these coldest months of the year.
According to reports, other plants will maintain their power output at 80% of capacity. This will also be dependent on the demand side pressure. South Korea generates around 40% of its electricity from 60 coal-fired plants. But the burning of coal results in air pollution. It has been observed in some of the cities that the concentration of dangerous PM 2.5 particles has increased exponentially.
The World Health Organisation also issued a warning regarding air pollution as it poses a major public health risk. The pollution helps breed the host of respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses. This spring, large part of South Korea was covered with fine dust particles. This has prompted the MPs to warn that air pollution was creating a “social disaster”.
The government respond to the situation by introducing a range of emergency measures. The measures include limiting power plant and vehicle use, and cutting the amount of dust generated by building sites. However, the measures have had little effect on pollution.
Along with this, non-essential vehicles will be banned from roads every other day in major cities for four months starting on Friday. The air pollution has caused friction with China. The South Korean public health experts say that China is responsible for 50-70% of fine dust pollution in the Seoul. Interestingly, Seoul is home to almost half the country’s population. China rejected all the claims and suggested that South Korea’s own power plants, factories and vehicles were to blame for the problem they are suffering from.