South Korea’s air quality was the worst among its peers in the OECD as of 2017 [Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters] South Korea on Wednesday ramped up its firepower in its battle against pollution, passing a set of bills that designate the problem a "social disaster" and which could unlock emergency funds to tackle the issue. Pollution in Asia’s fourth-largest economy has been exacerbated by factors including coal-fired power generation and high vehicle emissions, sparking widespread concern among the public and weighing on President Moon Jae-in’s approval ratings. Designating the issue a disaster allows the government to use parts of its reserve funds to help respond to any damage or emergency caused by polluted air. The country’s reserve funds stand at up to 3 trillion won ($2.65bn) this year. Other bills that were passed included mandating that every school classroom should have an air purifier and removing a limit on sales of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vehicles, which typically produce less emissions than gasoline and diesel. The latest bills follow previous steps to battle pollution such as capping operations at coal-fired power plants. South Korea’s air quality was the worst among its peers in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) […]

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