South Korea's industry ministry said Thursday it will suspend the operation of old coal power plants over the March-June period to cope with the intensifying level of fine dust in the country.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy said it will shut down four of the six plants that are older than 30 years in South Gyeongsang and South Chungcheong provinces. The two other plants in South Jeolla Province will maintain their operations to ensure a stable power supply in the region.
The ministry said the country's demand for electricity is relatively low over the period compared with winter and summer, claiming the power supply will remain stable throughout the period.
To cope with unexpected situations, including power shortages, the ministry said the suspended coal power plants will always be ready to resume operations.
Fine dust particles are more likely to penetrate deeply into the lungs, while ultra-fine particles can be absorbed directly into the blood stream, posing serious health risks.
The decision is expected to help South Korea cut ultra-fine dust emissions by 1,174 tons, which accounted for 5.1 percent of the total amount of fine dust created from coal power plants in 2018, the ministry said.
The ministry said it will continue to roll out measures to reduce the amount of fine dust in the air. (Yonhap)