SEOUL, May 27 (Yonhap) -- Diesel cars are being blamed as the main culprit of the chronic fine dust pollution in the country, but studies indicate that diesel construction equipment is also a big part of the problem, according to experts on Friday.
A tally from the Ministry of Land, infrastructure and Transport showed South Korea had 450,482 registered construction equipment as of end-March, 67 percent of them forklifts and excavators. The majority, experts say, use diesel fuel for cost and efficiency reasons, releasing dust and microdust particles and nitrogen oxide (NOx) into the air.
A report released by the Seoul Institute last year estimated that nearly one-third of dust and microdust emissions in the capital city came from operating construction machines. The figure, however, excludes dump trucks and concrete mixer trucks that are blamed for up to half of dust and NOx polluting Seoul's air.
Choi Yoo-jin, the author of the report, said construction machines have higher emissions levels than diesel passenger cars because of their bigger engines.
"The older the engine, the higher the emissions," Choi said. "The lifespans of these machines are also longer than regular vehicles'."