Air Pollution History, Regulatory Changes, and Remedial Measures of the Current Regulatory Regimes in Korea

우리나라 대기오염 역사, 규제의 변천, 현행 규제제도의 개선방안

  • Received : 2013.05.30
  • Accepted : 2013.07.26
  • Published : 2013.08.31


All Koreans had suffered heavily from municipal and industrial air pollution problems since 1960's to 1980's. However the levels of $SO_2$, CO, and Pb have been dramatically decreased since 1990's due to various air pollutants' reduction policies under the provisions of the 1978 Environmental Preservation Act and the 1990 Air Quality Preservation Act such as increasing the supply of low-sulfur fuel, the use of cleaner fuel, no use of solid fuel, and so on. Even though the national ambient air quality standard has been strengthened to protect public health and welfare, the levels of $NO_2$, $O_3$, and $PM_{10}$ frequently exceed the corresponding standards; for example, only 4 stations (1.7%) out of 239 nationwide monitoring stations satisfied the 24-hr based PM10 standard in 2011. Moreover, upto the present time, since there are serious underlying policies of economism and growth-first which can not be solely solved by the environmental laws, it is difficult to root out undesirable social evils such as public indifference, passive academic activities, complacent government bureaucracy, insufficient social responsibility of enterprise, and radical activities of environmental groups. The paper initially reviewed air pollution history of Korea with surveying various environmental factors affecting in/out-door air pollution in the past Korea. Further this study extensively investigated legal and political changes on air pollution control and management for the last 50 years, and then intensively discussed the present environment-related laws and policies unreasonably enforced in Korea. It is necessary to practically revise many outdated legal policies based on health-oriented thinking and on our current economic levels as well.


Air pollution history in Korea;Air pollution regulations;Emission standard;Environmental Preservation Act;Air Quality Preservation Act


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