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Dust Winds Covered the Peninsula

Posted March. 22, 2002 08:58,   


The average dust pollution index recorded the worst in its history by hwangsa (the yellow dust cloud that often blows over the Korean peninsula), 1279 mg/㎥.

In the midst of the worst hwangsa cloud, the high-rise buildings behind the passersby around the Kangnam Subway Station looked vague yesterday. The dust pollution level by regions marked such exceptional records as 1784 mg/㎥ in Banghak-Dong, Seoul, which is 11 times higher than the environmental standard per day (150 mg/㎥) and 25 times higher than the annual environmental standard (70 mg/㎥). Hannam-dong, Seoul, and Gyeyang-dong, Incheon, also showed record figures of 1610 mg/㎥ and 1316 mg/㎥ respectively. By the hwangsa cloud, over 70 air flights between Kimpo airport and 6 local airports, including Yeosu, Ulsan, Pohang, Mokpo, Pusan, and Sokcho, were cancelled. The hwangsa phenomenon is expected to continue on till 22nd.

The Korea Meteorological Administration forecasted, “the hwangsa that came through the strong westerlies from Northern part of inner China is expected to cover the nation until 22nd.”

This hwangsa, one of the strongest winds that originated in the inner China, is known as carrying poisonous heavy metals such as aluminum or led in the dust, which might cause eye diseases or respiratory diseases as well as a soil pollution.

A KMA official said, “the number of hwangsa days last year recorded 27 days, the most in past 40 years. It is expected that hwangsa may occur as many as last year since dry and high temperature has continued in the area of Northern China, which is the major source of hwangsa clouds.”

Ho-Gab Lee shchung@donga.com · gdt@donga.com