Have you received a text with a noisy alarm like this recently?
You were probably flustered because you had no idea what it meant.
It is an emergency disaster text to warn all of us about the current hot issue, the ‘micro dust’. If you read the text closely, you will see the words “micro dust emergency reduction measure”, and you are possibly wondering what it is about.
We need as many interest and participation from our citizens concerning the emergency reduction measure. I will tell you about it in a Q&A style.
Q1. What is a ‘Micro dust law’?
A micro dust law is focused on the reduction of micro dust and other micro dust-causing materials that are harmful to our health. It is made to reduce continuous outbreaks of micro dust by supervising the atmospheric environment and preserving clean air. The law states anything from the meaning of micro dust to total care plan, establishing detailed care plan, basis of the installation of the related groups. It is basically a legal base for the thrust of the micro dust related policies.
Q2. What are the main contents of the ‘Micro dust law’?
When the constant standard of the micro dust exceeds the limit, there will be an enforcer for the emergency reduction measure, which restricts vehicle operations and other machinery that emits micro dust. In the situation of such a measure, nursery schools, kindergartens, and other schools may be closed. Also, it may be a call for flexible working hours, like working at home or switching to a part-time job.
Furthermore, according to the Micro dust law, the government will enforce safety measure for children, infants, seniors, pregnant women and patients with respiratory/heart diseases. The head of the local government can designate an area with many facilities used by those vulnerable social groups as the ‘concentrated micro dust management area’. An action for an air ventilating system can be installed.
Q3. What is a ‘concentrated micro dust emergency reduction measure’?
When there is predictability of concentrated micro dust that exceeds the normal standard, the local governor can restrict vehicle operation and other machinery that emits micro dust. If the micro dust exceeds the limitation, the local governors can partly or wholly issue an emergency reduction measure to their territories. The standards for these actions are equal in every city in Korea.
Q4. What can be done?
When the emergency reduction measure is issued, the local government can change the time, rate or the efficiency of the operations of the Coal-fired Power Plants, steel factories, petrochemical/fiber purification factories, or cement factories that emits a great number of micro dust. For example, construction sites for apartment buildings or other dust-causing sites can undergo a change in schedule. Sprinkler trucks or a tarp for covering dust can be issued to prevent the flying of the dust. There could also be a driving restriction, closing down of schools or nursery schools or flexible working hours. However, closing down shops or schools will not be issued every time there is an emergency reduction measure. Only when the concentrated micro dust exceeds the limit will the emergency reduction measure be plied.
Q5. Of these, what is the ‘restriction of vehicle operation’?
The operation of vehicles will be restricted by the order of the highest gas exhaust models to reduce the effect of micro dust emission. The day after the emergency reduction measure, cars that have the 5 levels of exhaust gas will be restricted to drive from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. If the law is violated, there will be a fee of 100,000 won. The restriction of vehicle operation will be issued starting from Seoul on June 1st of this year to the rest of the provinces accordingly. By reinforcing the 5 level exhaust gas car restriction, the objective car would be about one-third lower than that of alternate no-driving, but 3 times higher in reducing micro dust.
Q6. If you violate the law, what are the consequences?
If you do not comply with the emergency reduction measure, a fee of 2,000,000 won will be imposed. The same will be imposed if you have violated the vehicle operating time for no apparent reason or the change of time or rate of the constriction site restriction. If you have violated the vehicle restriction law for no reason, a fee of 100,000 once a day will be imposed.
Q7. What is the ‘preliminary reduction measure’ before the issuing of the emergency reduction measure?
The ‘preliminary reduction measure’ means that if there will be a possible emergency reduction measure about two days ahead, on the day before (which would be tomorrow) there will be a preemptive micro dust reduction measure for the public spaces. During the preliminary measure, employees of the public institutions and/or administrations will be obligated for the alternate no-driving. The civilians will be suggested to do the same. Also, air emission-related businesses ran by administration/public institutions will be restricted in terms of operating time or day. To reduce the micro dust emission even more sufficiently, the duration of construction will be shortened, usage of aged machinery will be restricted and sprinkler truck will be issued to the construction sites.
Q8. If the emergency reduction measure is issued, schools/nurseries would be recommended to close down. Will child care services be provided accordingly?
The schools will not necessarily close down every time the reduction measure is issued. This will only happen in certain limited situations, and if the school indeed decides to close down, the child care services will operate as usual. Schools or nurseries might be recommended to close down, but it is mostly up to the principals to decide whether to open or not. We suggest the operation of elementary child care classes or alternative classes in classrooms with air-ventilated systems. Many of the nurseries with a high ratio of families with working couples will most likely be opened even though the recommendation of closing down has been issued. However, the nurseries must guide the parents through the issuing of the emergency reduction measure so they have the option of letting their children to attend or not.
Did the curiosity of the micro dust emergency reduction measure been fulfilled? When the measure is issued, let’s all take part in driving restrictions and make the city of Cheonan free of micro dust!