Anchor: Fine dust conditions in South Korea are worsening but little scientific data is available to confirm the origin of the airborne particles. In order to determine whether it comes from China or is created domestically, the South Korean government plans to launch a scientific satellite in 2019.
Bae Joo-yon has this report.
Report: The National Institute of Environmental Research suspects that up to 80 percent of the fine dust circulating in South Korea is from China.
[Sound bite: Jang Im-seok - Head of Air Quality Forecasting Center, National Institute of Environmental Research (Korean)]
“[China is] usually responsible for 30 to 50 percent of the fine dust and 60 to 80 percent when it's highly dense. It's been 75 to 76 percent when it was highly dense between January and March."
But as the state lab's chief air quality forecaster acknowledges, it's difficult to prove his assessment.
The Chinese government said earlier this month there should be scientific evidence to determine how much it is responsible for the fine dust in South Korea and Japan.
That's why Seoul plans to install fine dust observation equipment on the new Cheollian satellite that it is scheduled to launch in 2019.
The head of research and development at Korea Aerospace Research Institute(KARI) says the geostationary satellite will measure the reflection of sunlight from sulfur and nitrogen dioxide contained in the fine dust to trace its origin.
[Sound bite: Lee Seung-hoon - the head of the research and development division, Korea Aerospace Research Institute (Korean)]
“As the satellite revolves in the same direction that the earth rotates, it can fix its gaze on a certain place. So, it can trace the routes of chemical materials on a long haul.”
KARI says it will try to launch the satellite ahead of schedule given the seriousness of the fine dust problem.
Bae Joo-yon, KBS World Radio News.