Seoul, capital of South Korea, is enveloped in smog on December 29, 2014. (File photo: Xinhua)
Chinese scholars and authorities have responded to the smog-related accusations made by some South Korean activists and media, the Beijing-based Global Times reports.
Choi Yul, president of the Korean Green Foundation, and six other individuals jointly lodged a lawsuit with the Seoul Central District Court on Wednesday, accusing the governments of China and South Korea inaction on air pollution.
Previously, South Korean media reported that about 30,900 people in South Korea and Japan die prematurely every year due to the fine dust from China. The report attributed the figure to a research paper published in the international journal, Nature.
However, Zhang Qiang, one of the authors of the paper, dismissed the reports last week in Beijing. “There is no specific data on Japan and South Korea in the paper,” he said.
In the paper, researchers divided the world into 13 zones and analyzed the affects of international trade on air pollution and human health. There was no specific study on the effect of air pollution on human health in South Korea and Japan, Zhang said.
Earlier in March, Hua Chunying, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, also responded to the denunciation at a regular press conference in Beijing. She said the Chinese government is working hard to tackle air pollution, which might require a long period of time, and it still needs to be proved whether or not the air pollutants in China have a direct bearing on neighboring countries. But Hua assured that China's environmental protection authorities have maintained frequent contact with its counterparts in other countries.
South Korea has joined the ranks of the world's most polluted countries, according to a report by the Financial Times on March 29. Although many common people in South Korea blamed China for the pollution, scholars in the country believed the root cause lies at home. “The government is sitting idly by while passing the buck to China,” said Kim Shin-do, a professor of environmental engineering at the University of Seoul.