The Seoul Metropolitan Government seeks to adequately maintain and control the indoor air quality of the public use facilities which are used by many unspecified persons while providing a pleasant and clean indoor air for all.
Laying the Foundation
Laying the Foundation
As part of the effort to ensure clean and pleasant air in the underground space, Seoul passed the Seoul Ordinance on Air Quality Standard for Underground Space in 2000. For the overall indoor air quality control, a separate act governs the issue and the central government as well as local municipalities enforce them accordingly. The Act applies to the following 4 areas: public use facilities, sanitation facilities, indoor workspace, and schools.
Seoul Applies More Stringent Air Quality Standard than Central Gov’t
The Indoor Air Quality Control in Public User Facilities Act governs multi-use facilities that are used by many unspecified persons. The Act requires separate standards for 5 substances, namely fine dust, carbon dioxide, formaldehyde, aerosol, and carbon monoxide. On the other hand, for radon, nitrogen dioxide, total volatile organic compounds (TVOC) and ozone and asbestos, another set of standard is recommended for voluntary compliance.
Tailored Indoor Air Quality Measures both Online and Offline
Clean Indoor Air Certification System
The Clean Indoor Air Certification System is designed to encourage air-polluting individuals or entities to voluntarily reduce pollution. Under the system, facilities that show good performance in managing indoor air quality receive a certificate, which serves to bring greater awareness on indoor air. It is a good mechanism that motivates citizens to voluntarily take part in the government’s clean air initiative, and in this regard it effectively complements the legal regulations and standards with regard to indoor air quality. In 2012, 41 childcare facilities received certificates based on the standard set by the system. In the following year, the system expanded to include postpartum care facilities and senior care facilities, and in 2014 a further expansion was made to include facilities for teenagers such as private academies and libraries. A facility that qualifies for the certificate is entitled to free indoor air quality inspection for 2 years, and the names of such facilities are posted on the website, giving them the publicity.
Tailored Consulting Service
Committed to keeping Seoul’s indoor air clean and pleasant, the Seoul government offers a free consulting service to a range of facilities, including those where health-sensitive populations such as children and mothers use. Professionals designated by SMG make visits to facilities, competently investigate and analyze the situation to provide tailored solutions to the identified problem.
Consultants inspect the following 6 substances: fine dust, CO2, carbon dioxide, formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds (TVOC), carbon monoxide and temperature /humidity. Based on the broad inspection, the qualified consultants provide specific and detailed solutions to tackle problems unique to each facility.
Solutions offered by the skilled professionals are mostly easy to follow without costing too much. Examples include more frequent ventilation, change of cleaning method and time, mold removing, and reducing humanity in-house. In 2015, Seoul plans to provide the tailored expertise to daycare facilities that are smaller than 430m2 that are otherwise not regulated by the current law.
Pollution Level Examination
An administrative district can request Institute of Health Environment to examine a particular facility for compliance of indoor air pollution level. If non-compliance is detected by the examination, the facility may face a penalty and corrective orders.
Radon Control in Subway Stations
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas. Long-term exposure to radon can lead to lung cancer. Radon levels go up during winter due to insufficient ventilation, posing a potentially dangerous threat to health. To safeguard citizens’ health, the Institute of Health Environment regularly measures radon levels in subway stations since the underground public facility is used frequently by many people. Furthermore, stations whose radon levels are identified as high, the Institute designates it as a special care zone. The Institute’s continuous efforts in keeping the radon levels below the standard has paid off; as of 2013, the average radon levels was kept at 34% of the recommended levels. Another useful tool created by the Institute is Radon Map, which gives information of radon levels in both granite-based areas and non-granite-based areas in Seoul. The Map is available for everyone to view on the Indoor Environment Management System.
Public Disclosure of Indoor Air Quality Data
Seoul devotes all its energy and resources to protect citizens’ right to know about environment in which they live and to systematically manage indoor air quality in Seoul. To this end, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has opened the Indoor Environment Management System (http://cleanindoor.seoul.go.kr), an upgraded and more comprehensive version of the previous Asbestos Management Information System. The new, web-based system provides detailed information on both asbestos and overall indoor air quality. In fact, visitors can check the air quality related data of all public use facilities governed by the relevant Act. They can also learn about how best to keep the indoor air clean at this integrated web-based system. The innovative system is an effective tool in motivating facility managers and citizens to be more conscious of their indoor air quality and thus voluntarily take measures to improve.