Fine dust levels soar in South Korea

SEOUL, April 15 (UPI) — South Korea’s weather authorities have advised the public to refrain from going outside as concentration levels of air pollutants remain at alarmingly high levels, JTBC reported.

On Sunday, the Korea Meteorological Administration said the density of fine dust particles in the air would hit “bad” levels, ranging between 81 to 150 micrograms per cubic meter (㎍/㎥), throughout the country.

The capital of Seoul and major cities such as Gwangju, Daegu, Ulsan and Suwon were estimated to see fine dust levels hit 90, 257, 199 and 137 (㎍/㎥) by noon.

Southern parts of the country including Jeju Island have issued fine dust advisories, as concentration levels surge well over 250 micrograms.

Advisories are issued when the hourly density of PM10 fine dust, or dust particles smaller than 10 micrometers in diameter, exceeds an average of 90 micrograms for at least two hours.

Yellow dust sweeping in from China is said to have worsened air quality in the last few days.

Children, elderly citizens and those with respiratory issues are advised to stay at home and keep all windows and doors shut to keep dust from seeping in.

Fine dust can infiltrate and harm to the respiratory system, causing health problems including lung cancer and heart disease.

The KMA said the bout of yellow dust is likely to start winding down from Monday morning.