The National Assembly is set to vote on several bills aimed at fighting fine dust Wednesday, as South Korea has struggled with its worst-ever particle pollution in recent days.
A plenary session is scheduled to convene later in the day to deal with pending proposals, including one regarding the designation of fine dust as a "social disaster," which would allow the government to inject state money when an urgent need for expenditures arise.
Six other bills on particulate matter include a proposal on deregulation of the uses of liquid national gas (LNG) vehicles and a measure that requires schools to install air purifiers.
Fine dust air pollution has emerged as one of the most pressing issues here. The country was chocked by particulate matters for a record streak of seven straight days in early March.
The bills are expected to be easily passed, as rival parties have pledged bipartisan efforts to tackle the issue.
The ruling Democratic Party (DP) and two opposition parties agreed last week to vote on the bills Wednesday and consider an extra budget to fight fine dust if the government draws it up.
They also called on the government to spend reserve funds swiftly to provide supplies, such as anti-dust masks, to the underprivileged.
The parties also decided to send a delegation to Beijing to promote cooperation between the two countries in tackling fine dust, a large portion of which is believed to have blown in from China.
Political parties are keen to resolve the fine dust issue ahead of next year's parliamentary election as it could affect public support ratings for them, given its direct impact on people's health and welfare.
President Moon Jae-in has ordered the government to take extraordinary measures to fight fine dust pollution.
He called for interagency efforts last week, including the installation of high-capacity air purifiers in more day care centers and schools.
Moon also instructed government officials to work with China and called for his country's own response, such as the permanent shutdown of aged power plants that use fossil fuel.(Yonhap)
Kim Jung-mi firstname.lastname@example.org
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