Korea had the worst air pollution in the OECD last year, according an annual report by air quality monitoring firm IQAir AirVisual on Tuesday.
Korea had an average ultrafine dust or PM2.5 concentration of 24.8 ㎍/㎥, overtaking Chile with 22.6 ㎍/㎥ from a year earlier.
The pollution level given by AirVisual is slightly higher than the 23 ㎍/㎥ measured by the National Institute of Environmental Research. AirVisual noted that its report “is based on data from the world’s largest centralized platform for real-time air quality data,” so it may vary from governments’ official numbers.
Some 61 Korean cities were in the top 100 most polluted cities in the OECD, up from 44 in 2018.
“Not a single city in [Korea] met the [World Health Organization’s] annual PM2.5 guideline of 10 ㎍/㎥,” the report said. “Air pollution remains a problem shared by both urban and rural areas.”
“The [Korean] government’s policies for air pollution are mostly focused on temporary measures and emission reduction policies. This may be the reason that air quality improvements in [Korea] have stagnated for the past several years,” it added.
Among all 98 countries in or outside the OECD surveyed, Korea ranked 26th.
Bangladesh had the highest ultrafine dust level at 83.3 ㎍/㎥, followed by Mongolia and Pakistan. Asia’s top manufacturing hubs, India and China, ranked fifth and 11th with 58.1 ㎍/㎥ and 39.1 ㎍/㎥.
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