Analysis of Measures against Fine Particulate Matter
Published on 10 September 2019
Published by Social Administrative Program Evaluation Division of the Budget Analysis Department
This report outlines an analysis on the status and outcomes of measures and fiscal programs to address fine particulate matter. The aim is to enhance the effects of reducing fine particulate matter and draw improvement measures for efficient program operation. The analysis revealed that the following need to be improved or complemented.
First, in terms of finance, fiscal allocation should be reviewed by taking into consideration the efficiency of each program. While the current programs for tackling fine particulate matter are concentrated on supporting eco-friendly vehicles, resources spent on such programs proved to have relatively lower effect on reducing fine particulate matter compared to the same amount of resources spent on other programs.
Second, organizations responsible for similar roles need to have clear-cut job descriptions and be operated in a distinctive manner. The Committee for Special Measures Against Fine Particulate matter under the Office for Government Policy Coordination (OPC) and the National Council on Climate and Air Quality (NCCA), which is under the direct supervision of the president, have some overlapping functions. The National Data Center for Fine Particulate matter, which collects and analyzes data on fine particulate matter, undertakes some of the same roles as the National Institute of Environmental Research and the Greenhouse Gas Inventory and Research Center in terms of managing substances and duties. Therefore, a cooperative system needs to be established.
Third, in terms of performance management, the government should produce statistical data in a timely manner while disclosing the details of the final report on the implementation of measures such as the emergency emissions reduction scheme. Since it takes around 2.5 years to produce statistical data on the emissions volume in Korea, there are potential limitations regarding the evaluation of the outcomes of fine dust particle management measures as well as regarding a reasonable establishment development and implementation of data-based policies. Also, the final report submitted by the mayors and governors of metropolitan cities and provinces regarding the outcomes of the emergency emissions reduction scheme activated amid high concentrations of fine dust needs to be disclosed, , in order to verify the actual effects of such schemes.
Fourth, while the government aims to cut fine dust emissions by 116 thousand tons by 2022 (35.8% of the emissions level in 2014), programs need to be more strictly managed along with institutional improvements in order to achieve this target. It was found that the “total business site load management system” which mandates 36% (42 thousand tons) of the emissions reduction target of 116 thousand tons sets a higher amount of emissions high emissions reduction mandate compared to the total amount of emissions, thereby having little incentive to cut emissions. The “Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) distribution target system,” which provides a non-fiscal means for expanding the distribution of green cars, has little effect due to a lack of penalty against falling short of the mandatory target. The support program for promoting the spread of eco-friendly buses is not price-competitive compared to existing diesel buses.
Fifth, international cooperation should be strengthened to identify the cause of fine particulate matter and mitigate the impacts of their inflow from overseas. While it is important to obtain objective data recognized among countries regarding the external impacts of fine particulate matter, progress is relatively weak in relevant programs involving Korea and China because of the slow expansion of the area subject to air quality measurements, the non-disclosure of air quality measurement data and delays in the final report on the tripartite joint study between Korea, China and Japan.
Since it is difficult to resolve fine dust particle issues in the short term and since the occurrence of fine particulate matter is highly related to industrial development, there are challenges in developing and implementing response measures. Nevertheless, nationwide efforts must be made to reduce fine particulate matter to protect the health of the people, and the government needs to proceed with the established policies by making up complementing their shortcomings so that such measures may produce effective outcomes in terms of air quality improvement.