Whether you are new to Seoul or have been here for a decade then you probably know there is a fight to improve the air and water quality. Some of the problems stem from China and some of the polluted air making its way from Chinese factories to the Korean peninsula, but the main problem is Korea itself. Korea must change and try to improve these things because wearing pollution masks and filtering water only helps so much at the top of the problem, it does not actually solve the problem at the base level.
The air quality in Korea can be linked to coal plants in the country. Some of it comes from the coal plants and huge number of cars in China, but the main problem is Korea itself. The other concern is of the natural kind. This is the yellow dust that comes from China’s northern deserts and picks up industrial pollutants as it comes over from the west of Korea. The pollution is a serious issue and Korea ranks near the very bottom for air quality especially during the Spring when it is at its worst with the yellow dust. The pollution can be linked to early deaths, heart disease, and even cancers because the chemicals in the air have led and arsenic in them, but air quality can be improved if coal factories are shut down and replaced with cleaner burning fuels. The Korean people and the Government must push for this change and the sooner the better.
The water is another issue that has been ongoing in Korea. Many of the pipes are old and even though they are being replaced there are still many more to go. Many say the tap water has high rust and residual chlorine levels in it and it can lead to skin and hair issues. Some foreigners report once they move to Korea their hair starts to fall out from the bad water. Some say their skin becomes scaly and very dry, but there is a high mistrust not only amongst foreigners of the water system but most Koreans will not drink tap water because they fear what is in the water. Some people have even claimed to have caught parasites from drinking the water. Regardless, it is wise to do your research and possibly considering buying a water filter or water purifier while living in Korea.