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S. Korea mulls drawing up extra budget over fine dust

The Ministry of Economy and Finance will look into various financial options to curb fine dust, which has blanketed South Korea for days, an official said Wednesday.

The move came soon after President Moon Jae-in called on officials to draw up an extra budget, if necessary, to reduce fine dust pollution, which can cause various health problems.

The budget, if approved, could be used in increasing the use of air purifiers and expanding joint projects with China, presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said.


Experts said external sources, mostly in China, account for up to 80 percent of South Korea's fine dust air pollution.

The ministry said it will look into whether it has to resort to an extra budget or tap into reserve funds to deal with the issue.

The National Finance Act stipulates that an extra budget can be drawn up only in emergencies such as war, natural disaster, economic recession or massive unemployment. In South Korea, yellow dust is regarded as a natural disaster.

Hong Nam-ki, the minister of economy and finance, recently ruled out using an extraordinary budget in the near future.

Last year, South Korea's parliament approved an extra budget bill worth 3.83 trillion won ($3.54 billion) to create jobs for young people and help industrial regions grappling with massive layoffs. (Yonhap)