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Over 20 percent of air quality predictions last year incorrect: report

Over 20 percent of air quality predictions in Seoul issued by the Environment Ministry‘s National Institute of Environmental Research last year were incorrect, said Rep. Choi Do-ja of Bareun Mirae Party, who obtained the data from the ministry Sunday. 

Seoul’s Namsan Tower is blanketed in thick smoke. (Yonhap)
Seoul’s Namsan Tower is blanketed in thick smoke. (Yonhap)

According to Choi’s press release, 487 of the 2,384 predictions for the next day’s PM10 and PM2.5 density levels -- density of particulate matter smaller than 10 and 2.5 micrometers in diameter, respectively -- were incorrect in the country where air quality often deteriorates to hazardous levels.

From January to March last year, the weather body’s two-day forecast for particulate matter density maintained 25.9 percent of inaccuracy (151 out of 584 predictions), while its one-day forecast maintained 9.3 percent inaccuracy.

Overall, 973 out of 6,568 predictions in the same period turned out to be inaccurate in forecasting the level of fine particulate density.

“Amid growing fear and stress over fine dust, the government should at least raise the accuracy of forecasting air quality so that people can be prepared,” Choi said in the press release.

To tackle the problem of the air pollution, President Moon Jae-in raised South Korea’s concern about air pollution -- that mostly comes from China -- and asked for close cooperation to fight it during talks with Chinese special envoy Yang Jiechi on March 30.

The constant exposure to particulate matter that goes directly to the lungs can increase the risk of lung cancer, experts warn.

By Bak Se-hwan (