Micro-Dust Issue in Korea

By Hamin Rho 22', Staff Writer, April 5, 2019 

The Korea Southern Power Co. recently announced that they are planning to decrease 2.1k tons of microdust until 2021. The organization created a team for micro dust control. The team announced their ideas on how they will research and develop microdust reduction technology, use environment-friendly fuels more often, etc. 

The following are some of their ideas that have been announced:

-Reduce coal generation and expand LNG combined power generation and petroleum power generation facilities. 

-Build eco-friendly power generation facilities to reduce sulfur oxides and dust emissions to the lowest level in Korea. 

-Use low sulfur coal as a power generation fuel and install land power supply equipment (AMP) to reduce fine dust from coal transportation. 

In addition to these efforts, Hanlim Plant in Jeju Island will convert fuel from kerosene to LNG, and air purifiers and vibration dampers will be deployed around the power plant.

Recently, Korea has been suffering because of hazardous amounts of yellow dust (microdust). As a student in Korea, I am also a victim to this problem that ails our health. I didn't notice any immediate symptoms of yellow dust except for discomfort due to the necessity to wear masks on a daily basis. However, as time passed, I started to have problems with my eyes. Every time my eyes get exposed to the air with micro dust, it got extremely red and produced pain which made it harder to open my eyes. I know for sure that it can only be the microdust that is causing this problem. How I know this is because only the exposed parts get red and the rest of my eyes are fine. It’s not only eye problems that I am worried about because I can’t just simply ignore the fact that microdust will damage our lungs. In the midst of living with all these worries, these announcements are a beacon of hope that one day we won’t need to suffer because of micro dust.

Increased Public Transportation Fees

By Hamin Rho 22', Staff Writer, March 27, 2019 

The new system increases 18.6% of standard taxi fare.

From March 16, 4 A.M., the taxi fee in Korea has increased. The government is also planning to increase the fare for wide area express buses (M Bus) and the intercity buses from next month.

The basic fare for standard taxis has been increased from 3,000 won to 3,800 won. Also, the basic late-night taxi fare, from midnight to 4AM, has been raised from 3,600 won to 4,600 won. 

Not only did the basic fare increase, but the meters now rise at a faster rate. Before the changes, the taxis went 142 meters for 100 won after the 2 km that the basic fare covered. And when taxis traveled slower than 15 kilometers per hour, 100 won was added to the fare for every 35 seconds. After the new meter system was introduced, the distance shortened to 132 meters and seconds to 31.

Also, the fare for deluxe taxis and jumbo taxis has been increased along with the standard taxis. They have been increased 1,500 won, from 5,000 to 6,500 won. They now charge 200 won for 151m, which is shortened by 13m, and by 36 seconds which is 3 seconds shorter than before.

The government will increase the fare for wide area express buses (M Bus) to 2,800 won. Currently, the Gyeonggi-do M buses are 2,400 won and Inchon buses are 2,600 won.

The fee for intercity buses from Seoul to Sokcho will rise from 13,300 won to 15,100. The express buses from Seoul to Busan, 23,000 won to 24,800, and Seoul to Jeonju 12,800 won to 13,800.


South Korea's Accusation on Japanese Patrol Plane Flying Near the Korean Battleship

By Eugene Kim 19', Editor-In-Chief, February 12, 2019 

According to Time, South Korea Military states that Japanese patrol flight has been making a few low-altitude flights near South Korean Military Warship, giving a sense of danger to the battleship over the past couple of weeks. South Korea military states that it was “a clear act of provocation,” most likely a diplomatic move to earn back Shinzō Abe’s, the Japanese Prime Minister, support from the public by creating an opportunity to transform the current Japanese Self-defense force into a military force.

Based on The South Korean Ministry of National Defense follow up, “the plane flew 60 to 70 meters above the water and 540 meters from the South Korean naval ship, Dae Jo-Yeong, taking several perilous actions.”

The Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya, however, denied the accusation in entirety by stating that the Japanese patrol flight had flown at least twice as high without any act of danger involved - a clear negation and denial of South Korea military report. Furthermore, the Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga stated that “it seems essential that the Japanese and South Korean defense authorities try to communicate and promote better understanding,” clearly implying that they have done nothing wrong to put the Korea-Japan relationship in danger and are willing to talk the situation out. 

Since both South Korea and Japan are the United States allies and close economic partners, the situation became complicated over this currently ongoing military issues and long-time war history. 

The controversy between two countries’ militaries has been ongoing for the past weeks when Japanese accused South Korea’s military of locking fire-control radar on a Japanese patrol plane in December. In addition to adamant denial about Japanese claim, South Korea military is making a counter accusation of Japanese patrol plane’s clear act of provocation. 

The chief director of operations at the Joint Chiefs of Staff Seo Wook claimed that it was the third time Japanese patrol plane had flown low altitude close to the South Korean warship since the December incident. During the follow up, he stated, “The threatening low-altitude flight conducted today, despite our firm request to the Japanese government to ensure that (such flights) don’t recur, is a clear provocation against the naval vessel of a friendly country and makes it impossible for us not to question Japan’s intentions.” With this statement, he confidently said, “if such activity repeats, our military will respond strongly based on our response rules.”

Not only the Japanese Patrol aircraft was the problem, but the relationship between South Korea and Japan has also been the worst for the past years due to the compensation issue on “comfort women,” whom Japanese exploited sexually during the World War II. 

More remains to be verified on the issue; however, the motives behind Japanese acts of provocation could contain deeper political reasons than what seems on the facade. More reports would need to be reviewed in order for the truth to be reveal amidst tense political agitation between two nations.