Yellow Dust in Korea
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Hello! This time, I would like to talk about another national disaster that I experienced in Korea, which is the yellow dust (미세먼지). Yellow dust, also known as yellow sand or Asian dust, usually occurs during springtime (March – May). This is a yellow-colored sand dust which originated from the deserts in the northern part of China and dry zones of Mongolia. According to the Seoul Metropolitan Government website, fine sand dust is blown up to the atmosphere by strong winds when the atmospheric pressure is low. It then reaches to South Korea and other surrounding regions before it completely falls to the ground. When there are high levels of Yellow Dust, you will notice how the sky is foggy and its color turns yellow or somewhat brown.
I experienced high levels of yellow dust in May of this year, specifically May 7 to May 9. That weekend, alerts were received notifying people of “Very Bad” concentration of fine dust. According to the news, very fine dust particles known as PM 10 increased up to 610 micrograms per cubic meter in Seoul during that time. This was quite alarming because normal concentration is only between 31 and 80 micrograms. High concentration of yellow dust can bring health risks. Exposure can cause sore throat, dry eyes as well as respiratory complications for vulnerable individuals like the elderly. This is so because the sand dust may include industrial pollutants and even particles of heavy metals.
Since yellow dust is something that I don’t experience in my country, this is a new experience for me. I was in Seoul on May 7 to see my friends, and it was strange for me seeing the yellow color of the atmosphere. So, what should we do in case the level of yellow dust is high? The Seoul Metropolitan Government website lists down a few measures that we can follow. First of all, we should try to avoid going outdoors and ff we do, we must wear proper protective masks. When at home, we should make sure that windows are shut to avoid yellow dust from entering our homes. Having air purifiers or humidifiers may also be of help. Finally, make sure to check levels of yellow dust in your area through the news or online. In Naver, when you search “미세먼지”, it will automatically show you the concentration of fine dust in your area.
Have you experienced Yellow Dust in Korea? Tell us about it!
Until next time!
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