SEOUL -- The capitals of South Korea and China agreed Monday to establish an anti-pollution hotline as part of their joint efforts to reduce fine dust which has been as a source of concern in Northeast Asia.
The agreement came at regular talks led by Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon and Beijing Mayor Chen Jining at Park's office. The two cities have held biennial meetings since 2013 to discuss cooperation in economic, cultural, environmental and other fields.
At their third meeting in Seoul Monday, Park and Chen agreed to open an anti-pollution hotline, calling for practical steps to bring down levels of fine dust particles and harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
VOCs are organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperature. Some VOCs are dangerous to human health or cause harm to the environment. Fine dust which refers to particles smaller than 10 micrometers causes various respiratory problems.
China has been cited as the main culprit for aggravating particulate pollution on the Korean peninsula, but experts also point to power plants and vehicles using fossil fuel. In an effort to reduce fine dust emissions, President Moon Jae-in has ordered the gradual shutdown of old fossil-fueled power plants.
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