Posted May. 16, 2017 07:23,
Updated May. 16, 2017 07:29
President Moon Jae-in ordered Monday a temporary shutdown of eight coal-fired thermal power plants that were built more than 30 years ago for a month in June as part of the government’s emergency measure to combat fine dust. Moon also plans to permanently close all 10 plants within his five-year term while reassessing plans to construct new plants that are currently being built.
Moon announced a fine dust reduction plan during his visit to an elementary school in northern Seoul on 2 p.m. Monday. It marked the president's second visit to work sites since his inauguration following the meeting with contract workers at the Incheon International Airport Corporation on Friday.
Korea has 59 coal-fired power plants and 10 are aged 30 years or over. The government will suspend operation of eight of them next month, excluding the first and second plants that provide electricity to the Yeosu national industrial complex in South Jeolla Province. The government also plans to shut down the 10 plants from March to June next year when fine dust level is high.
"The fine dust coming out from thermal power plants account for about 14 percent of Korea's overall fine dust," a Presidential Office staff said. "We expect that if the eight old power plants suspend operations, fine dust will be reduced by 1-2 percent."
President Moon also promised to install dust-measuring devices at elementary schools. "We will install such devices in some 11,000 elementary to high schools across the nation," the president said. "We will also increase installation of air-measuring devices." Given that a fine dust measuring device costs 6 million won (5,376 dollars), a total of 66 billion won (59.03 million dollars) will be needed to install them in schools across the country.
"Since it is hard to pursue gym classes due to fine dust, we will install portable gymnasiums for schools lacking them while shifting portable gymnasiums into official ones," President Moon said. "Air purifier devices will also be installed in classrooms and gymnasiums."