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Seoul passes emergency bills to fight air pollution

AFP  |  Seoul 

passed emergency measures on Wednesday to tackle the "social disaster" of air pollution, after the country saw record levels of earlier this month.

The measures include the mandatory introduction of air purifiers in schools and day care centres, and access to an emergency fund to help tackle the issue.

The country's poor air quality has become a serious political problem for amid growing public discontent that the government is not doing enough, with many South Koreans blaming Asian neighbour for the poor air quality.

The eight new bills designate air as a "social disaster", meaning the government can use state funds and conduct extraordinary countermeasures to tackle it.

They also encourage the purchase of liquefied (LPG) cars, which emit less air pollutants than diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles and were previously only available for taxis, rental cars and disabled drivers.

is the world's biggest polluter and according to the International Agency uses coal to generate around three quarters of its

Air quality in South Korea, the world's 11th largest economy, is generally better.

But the concentration of fine dust particles has surged in recent weeks and reached a record high in on March 5, prompting the government to advise people to wear masks, use and avoid walking outside.

has already passed some measures in a bid to improve its air quality, including shutting down five ageing coal-fired power plants last year.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, March 13 2019. 20:09 IST