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(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
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|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Moderate|| 74 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Busan is currently 4.6 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Tuesday, Dec 5|
Moderate 74 AQI US
|Wednesday, Dec 6|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 105 AQI US
|Thursday, Dec 7|
Moderate 59 AQI US
Moderate 74 AQI US
|Saturday, Dec 9|
Moderate 66 AQI US
|Sunday, Dec 10|
Moderate 67 AQI US
|Monday, Dec 11|
Moderate 53 AQI US
|Tuesday, Dec 12|
Good 37 AQI US
|Wednesday, Dec 13|
Good 29 AQI US
|Thursday, Dec 14|
Moderate 56 AQI US
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Busan is located in South Korea, officially known as Busan metropolitan city. It is the second most populous city in the country after Seoul, home to some 3.41 million inhabitants and covering an area of over 770km2. It is known as the educational and cultural heart of the southeastern region of S. Korea, and with a wide variety of human activities going on, such as tourism, day to day commuting and commerce and industry. As such, there will undoubtably be pollution related issues arising from these activities that affect Busan's year round levels of air quality.
Regarding the pollution readings, Busan came in with a PM2.5 reading of 21 μg/m³ in 2019, as its yearly average. This placed it into the ‘moderate’ rating pollution bracket for that year, a ratings bracket that requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 12.1 to 35.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such. As the name suggests, whilst it does not suffer from the overbearing levels of pollution that some cities in Asia do, it still has some prominent pollutive issues, that would be detrimental to many of its citizens, with vulnerable portions of the population such as young children, the elderly as well as the sick or immunocompromised being at more risk, as well as expectant mothers being particularly vulnerable due to the danger that higher levels of pollution presents to unborn babies.
This yearly reading of 21 μg/m³ placed Busan into 824th place out of all cities ranked around the world, as well as 89th place out of all cities ranked in Korea, coming in just behind other cities such as Yangsan and Gyeongju.
With a large population that is still undergoing rapid growth, as well as growing economies coupled with an expansion in infrastructure, Busan would be prone to sources of pollution that stem from these events and others related to it. For one, the huge amount of vehicles on the road would be responsible for putting out large amounts of noxious fumes and pollution into the air, with many personal vehicles being used throughout the city, and indeed the whole country.
Besides personal vehicles such as cars and motorbikes, heavy duty ones such as lorries, trucks and buses would also be contributing factors, often running on lower quality or diesel based fuels, which give out far greater emission levels than their cleaner counterparts would, although of note is that South Korea is moving in a positive direction in regards to cleaning up its urban environment and carbon footprint.
Other sources of pollution would be ones such as factories, power plants and other similar industrial areas, many of which also rely heavily on fossil fuels, with large machinery often running on diesel as well as energy provided to these plants utilizing coal, the combustion of which gives out a large amount of pollution that would raise the ambient year round pollution readings. These would be the main sources of pollution, with other ones being trans-border smoke and haze issues coming from China, being blown across the sea, alongside construction sites and other similar areas giving off their own unique pollutants as well as fine particulate matter.
Observing the data taken over 2019, much like the rest of Korea there appears to be a pattern that emerges regarding when PM2.5 levels are at their highest. PM2.5 refers to particulate matter that is 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, making it roughly 3% the size of a human hair and of great danger to respire, due to its immensely small size. It is one of the major components used in calculating the overall level of air quality, or AQI, and will be used to establish pollution readings in Busan.
The months with the highest readings of pollution over the course of 2019 were the very end of the year as well as the beginning, with pollution levels beginning to decline in December, with the highest readings being shown between the months of January to May. December came in with a reading of 22.5 μg/m³, and then from January to May, the readings were 28 μg/m³, 27.8 μg/m³, 29.6 μg/m³ and then 24.8 μg/m³ in May, skipping over April due to a drop in pollution levels. This shows that March was the most polluted month of the year in Busan, with January and February following very closely behind, hence the first three months being the dirtiest in regards to air quality, as is seen in many cities throughout the country as mentioned.
With the aforementioned question displaying when pollution levels were at their worst, in contrast it was the months that went from the mid to end portion of the year that came in with the best readings of PM2.5.
After the highly polluted readings taken in the first three months, and with another spike showing up in May at 24.8 μg/m³, the PM2.5 readings continued to drop from here on out, with June coming in at 21 μg/m³ and July subsequently hitting 18.1 μg/m³. This continued as a trend until the months of September and October, when readings of 13 μg/m³ and 12.6 μg/m³ were taken. This shows that October was the cleanest month out of the entire year, only 0.6 units away from being moved into a better air quality rating category.
With much of the pollution stemming from sources such as vehicles, construction sites and factory or industrial zones, the accompanying pollutants would be observed in the atmosphere, often coming from the combustion of fuels or other materials.
Areas that see high volumes of traffic often see large amounts of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) in them, with nitrogen dioxide being particularly pertinent due to its high release from vehicle use, often corresponding directly with large volumes of traffic, permeating both the ground level air and upper atmosphere in these areas, most noticeably during rush hour times.
Other pollutants would include volatile organic compounds (VOC's) such as benzene, formaldehyde and toluene, all of which have highly negative effects on human health, and are exceptionally easy to breathe in due to their volatile nature making the gases at much lower temperatures. These are but a few of the pollutants that would be found in the air in Busan.
4 Data sources