Last March, the government of South Korea declared air pollution to be a “social disaster.” This winter, they are taking steps to mitigate dangerous air quality. The country’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy announced it will shut down up to a quarter of the country’s coal-fired generators from December to early February in an effort to combat winter air pollution.
The government hopes that closing some of the 13 coal plants in the country during the winter months will reduce air dust emissions by 44%. Additionally, it plans to shut down 10 of these plants permanently by 2022. 46% of South Korea’s energy is sourced from coal plants, but the government has pledged to boost renewable energy by 20% by 2030 and has stopped the construction of new coal plants.
South Korea has some of the world’s worst air pollution due to coal, factories, and car exhaust. It believes switching to renewables will help eliminate part of the problem.