Korean Football Association will cancel games because of fine dust

Browsing through the Asian English language articles as I do each morning yesterday one story stood out. This one, in particular, was of interest due to its uniqueness it caught my eye. 

The KFA (Korean Football Association) has announced it will postpone games in future if there are high levels of fine dust in the air. Professional football matches called-off because of dust is something I have never heard of happening before. Images appeared in my head of the football association calling the clubs and saying, “right lads, games are off the dust is out, but this is not any dust…this dust is fine!” That was until I looked it up later in the day and realised it can be extremely hazardous.

So what is fine dust? What exactly makes this fine dust so hazardous compared to ordinary bog-standard dust? When I got round to researching the matter, I was directed gleefully to Wikipedia for a precise and concise explanation. 

Fine dust is mixed up from the deserts of Mongolia, Northern China and Kazakhstan. The wind then blasts it over from China where it manages to pick up, collect and store various pollutants and bacteria such as:  soot, ash, carbon monoxide, and other toxic pollutants including heavy metals (such as mercury, cadmium, chromium, arsenic, lead, zinc, copper) and other carcinogens, viruses, bacteria, fungi, pesticides, antibiotics, asbestos, herbicides, plastic ingredients. There is that concise explanation I was talking about. 

Areas affected by the fine dust can see an increase in various health problems including sore throats or asthma even in people who were previously healthy. This happens with fine dust and not bog standard ordinary dust because it manages to work its way into our lungs, where normal coarse dust is too thick to do so. After inhalation, it can cause long-term scarring of lung tissue as well as induce cancer and lung disease.

This dust is the same stuff that occasionally appears on BBC news accompanying the headlines, “Beijing under smog haze – air pollution at dangerous levels”. Countries with close proximity to China are always going to be affected by the amount of pollution pumped out from Chinese cities, they have tried to combat it by planting trees but it has been reported that their attempts have been failing as all the trees are not lasting which doesn’t leave enough left to suck up the level of pollution being pumped into the air.

As South Korea is one of the few countries that share close proximity to China, then it is no wonder that they suffer badly from this problem. Whatever solution South Korea attempt to come up with, it is unlikely to help as this kind of problem needs to be fixed at the root of the cause. China is unlikely to get this under control any time soon so it’s likely that the countries closest to China will continue to suffer.

South Korea’s decision regarding this issue might sound drastic to outsiders or people who haven’t lived in the region. I can testify that the smoggy haze from China is awful, as I am someone who lives in a country close to China too in Taiwan we often suffer from this issue but I didn’t know what it was until I read this article. Those days the haze takes hold visibility is extremely low, my eyes sting and the air is horrid, verging on putrid especially when riding my scooter to work, and then home again.

If South Korea gets it worse than Taiwan then they are taking the correct decision without a doubt.

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