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(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
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|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good|| 21 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Hwaseong air currently meets the WHO annual air quality guideline value
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|Sunday, Sep 24|
Good 23 AQI US
|Monday, Sep 25|
Good 34 AQI US
|Tuesday, Sep 26|
Good 28 AQI US
Good 21 AQI US
|Thursday, Sep 28|
Moderate 82 AQI US
|Friday, Sep 29|
Moderate 65 AQI US
|Saturday, Sep 30|
Moderate 68 AQI US
|Sunday, Oct 1|
Moderate 66 AQI US
|Monday, Oct 2|
Moderate 60 AQI US
|Tuesday, Oct 3|
Moderate 62 AQI US
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Hwaseong is a city in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea. It has the largest area of farmland of any city or county in the province. According to a census conducted in 2019, the estimated population was approximately 800,000 people.
Towards the middle of 2021, Hwaseong was experiencing a period of “Moderate” quality air with a US AQI reading of 76. This United States Air Quality Index number is an internationally used set of metrics supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and is used to compare the air quality in different cities throughout the world using comparable standards. It is calculated by using the levels of the six most commonly found pollutants. If data is unavailable for all six, then a figure will be calculated using what information there is. For Hwaseong there were five recordings which were as follows: PM2.5 - 24 µg/m³, PM10 - 41 µg/m³, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) - 33.8 µg/m³, sulphur dioxide (SO2) - 13.1 µg/m³ and carbon monoxide (CO) - 572.5 µg/m³. These figures are quoted in micrograms/microns per cubic metre. With a level as high as this, the given advice would be to remain indoors as much as possible, closing doors and windows to prevent the ingress of more polluted air. Those of a sensitive disposition should avoid venturing outside unless it is absolutely necessary and in that case, a good quality mask should be worn.
Air pollution can be very volatile and, as such, can change very quickly depending on many variables, such as wind speed and direction and the strength of sunlight and during the seasons of the year.
Looking back at the figures published by the Swiss air monitoring company IQAir.com for 2020 it can be seen that the air quality in Hwaseong remained “Moderate” through the entire twelve months. The recorded figures were between 12.1 and 35.4 µg/m³. Records about air quality were first kept in 2017 when the annual average was noted to be 25.4 µg/m³. The following year returned a figure of 26.7 µg/m³ followed by 25.4 µg/m³ in 2019. In 2020, the figure was seen to be 22.5 µg/m³ but this may not be a true reflection of reality because of the restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many vehicles were no longer used as the drivers were furloughed and not required to commute to and from work. There were also many factories and other non-essential production units which were temporarily closed in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.
Air pollution comes from many sources, both domestic and international. Many forms of pollution have increased in South Korea since its rapid industrialisation, especially in the large cities. Traffic, factories and power plants all contribute to pollution. As the population increases, so does the number of vehicles using the city’s roads.
Many South Koreans blame China for its pollution because of the spread of their yellow dust that is being produced by huge factories and coal-fired power plants. China causes 30 to 50 per cent of the PM2.5 in South Korea on normal days, but 60 to 80 per cent on the worst days. Conventional power plants combust fossil fuels to produce energy and release hazardous gases such as oxides and nitrogen, carbon monoxide, particulates, and hydrocarbons into the air.
Many experts say that Korea's heavy reliance on coal-fired power plants and diesel fuel is also a major part of the problem.
The local authorities in Hwaseong City announced that it has completed installation of 100 simple dust detectors with the performance certification of the Ministry of Environment in public facilities frequently used by citizens, such as day-care centres and senior citizens' facilities. The city of Hwaseong emphasized that by providing real-time fine dust information to citizens through the operation of the 'Dense Air Quality Monitoring Station', it will be possible to protect citizens' health and establish a rapid response system to the occurrence of fine dust in the city.
A 'Voluntary Agreement on Total Amount of Air Pollutants Management' has recently been signed by three large companies who are committed to the reduction of air pollution by 25 per cent. The target of reducing emissions by up to 25 per cent compared to the total allowed emissions by 2022 through diversified efforts to reduce air pollutants such as operation of low-carbon and high-efficiency LNG cogeneration facilities and pre-emptive management of pollution prevention facilities.
Since signing the Paris Agreement in 2016, Korea has been committed to clean its air. By 2022, domestic emissions are planned to be cut by 30 per cent as President Moon Jae-in vowed to shut down old coal-powered plants.
On a local level, Korean cities have many bicycle routes and pedestrian-only zones. Diesel buses are being replaced with natural gas vehicles, and emission-reduced devices are provided to cars.
The main components of air pollution in developed countries are:
Combustion of biomass fuels (e.g. wood, animal manure, grain) is an important source of indoor particulate matter in developing countries. Second-hand smoke is also an important source of indoor air pollution.
Severe air pollution can trigger seizures (exacerbation) in people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Air pollution-related lung disease increases the risk of heart and blood vessel disorders, as well as lung cancer risk. People living in high-traffic areas are especially at risk.
Ozone, a major component of smog, is a strong lung irritant. The figures are higher in summer compared to other seasons, and tend to be relatively higher in the late morning and early afternoon compared to other times of the day. Short-term exposure may cause breathing difficulties, chest pain and airway hyperactivity. Children who participate in outdoor activities on days when ozone pollution levels are high are more likely to develop asthma. Long-term exposure to ozone permanently reduces lung function slightly.
Particulate air pollution from fossil fuel combustion (especially diesel fuel) is a complex mixture. Particles can cause inflammation of the airways or affect other parts of the body, such as the heart. Data from some studies show that particulate air pollution increases mortality from all causes, particularly heart and lung disorders.