S Korea in airborne fight against ‘Chinese’ pollution

SEOUL (AFP) – Seoul yesterday sent aircraft over the Yellow Sea to carry out cloud-seeding experiments in an effort to tackle air pollution many South Koreans blame on China.

Air quality in South Korea is generally better than in its giant neighbour, the world’s biggest polluter, which is periodically affected by choking bouts of filthy air and according to the International Energy Agency uses coal to generate around three quarters of its energy.

Beijing has been seeking to tackle the scourge, which causes widespread public anger, and a recent study found urban levels of PM2.5 – the tiny airborne particles considered most harmful to health – had been cut by almost a third on average over four years.

But they remain far above World Health Organization norms, and pollution levels in Korea sometimes spike as the prevailing winds blow PM2.5 particulates – referred to as “fine dust” in the South – across the sea between the two countries.