The Perilous Gray Belt

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Monday, November 27th, 2017
Kim Justine

Technological development has a recently highlighted a perilous drawback: air pollution. Air pollution has always been a menace to our health. We have been warned about various dangerous factors to our lives. However, most of us do not take action until it actually affects us. The air pollution arising from factories contain numerous harmful gases that are more powerful than we think.

Being a typical Korean teenager living in Seoul, it is not difficult to go to outside and come back inside with a sore throat. The reason for this is well known: fine dust. What surprises me the most is that due to technology, the majority of the country’s citizens are aware of the negative effects of fine dust, but when I go outside I barely see people wearing masks. What is more surprising is that Koreans are not doing more to reduce their own role in the pollution.

In fact, the majority of Koreans think that all of this pollution is from China. However, a large percentage of the pollution is actually what we created.
Air pollution has always been around us! Every time we cook something or ride a car, there has been more air pollution created than we think. Mobile sources such as cars, buses, trains, and planes are a large contributing factor, and stationary sources such as pollution that comes from mass production factories, power plants, and oil refineries are also a big problem. Pollution from area sources such as cities and agricultural areas burden livestock and people, and natural sources such as wind-blown dust, wildfires, lightning, and other natural disasters can also befoul the air. However, information shows that that most pollution is created by people. For example, Korea’s number of coal-power plants have been increasing, and the government is planning on building more. The pollution from these power plants creates 40% of our air pollution.

Korea is now third place on the world’s most polluted list that the OECD has created. The government is issuing ultra fine dust warnings. However, this is not enough. OECD also says that up to 9 million people could die in 2060 worldwide due to air pollution. South Korea is believed to suffer the worst. Thus, it is clear that we should take some actions. 

One of our first priorities is to create energy sources that are not harmful to the environment. We can also think of ways that we can keep or crops and fields without polluting the Earth. If we don’t make any change in the pollution, we can at least do something to protect our bodies: wearing masks. For our convenience, there are apps available about the information of the air quality. Thus, it should be easier to know easily about the environment surrounding us.

It is crucial that we make changes to create a world that the future generations can live in. Expecting change to happen itself is a useless thought. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

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