South Korea passes laws that declare air pollution a ‘social disaster’

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Faces with a record level of air pollution, South Korea has passed a set of legislation which has designated the problem a “social disaster”.

The newly passed bills allow authorities access to emergency funds to the tune of US$2.65bn, to fight the menace through measures such as mandatory installation of high-capacity air purifiers in classrooms and encouraging sales of liquified petroleum gas vehicles.

Capital Seoul has taken several measures such as limiting vehicle use, curbing the use of coal-fired power station and controlling constructions.

The country also blames neighbour China for 50% and 70% of fine dust pollution in the Seoul area, as easterly winds from China carry pollution to the peninsular nation.

Pollution has become a major political issue, with President Moon Jae-in coming under criticism to tackle the crisis.

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