The worsening air condition due to fine and ultrafine dust caused an economic loss of 4 trillion won (US$3.54 billion) in South Korea last year, according to a study by the Hyundai Research Institute.
The institute conducted a survey on 1,008 adults nationwide from Feb. 18 to 28 to find out the degree of constraints on production activities stemming from fine dust.
The report said, “Economic loss from fine dust is estimated at 4.02 trillion won (US$3.56 billion) last year, which is 0.2 percent of the country's nominal gross domestic product (GDP).”
By industry, the agricultural, forest and fisheries sector, which requires mostly outdoor activities, suffered the highest degree of constraint with 8.4 percent, followed by other service industries with 7.3 percent and electricity, sewage and construction industries with 7.2 percent.
In the survey, 78.3 percent of respondents said neighboring countries, including China, are the biggest cause of fine dust, while 10.5 percent of them chose vehicle exhaust emissions, 6 percent energy industry combustion, including coal-fired power plants, 3.2 percent factory production process and manufacturing industry combustion, 1.8 percent biofuel combustion and combustion from the process of waste disposal, and 0.3 percent non-road pollutants, such as aircraft and ships.
For the countermeasure, 67.9 percent of respondents said it is most urgent to scientifically investigate the mutual influence of air pollution through a joint research with other countries, including China. Only 10.3 percent and 9.3 percent of them said the government needs to strengthen the standards of fine dust management and toughen the traffic demand management policy, including diesel cars, respectively.
For the biggest change in daily life from fine dust, 37 percent of respondents said their indoor activities increased instead of outdoor activities. Moreover, 31 percent of them said they wore fine dust masks, while 71.3 percent said they faced constraints on job-related production activities from fine dust.
According to the results, an estimated 158.60 billion won (US$140.27 million) in losses were incurred for each day that a fine dust warning was issued last year, with fine and ultrafine dust warnings issued for an average of 25.4 days nationwide. Fine dust caused constraints on outdoor production activities and hit sales hard, greatly dwarfing productivity.