Korea 101 for expats

Standing against Yellow Dust and Fine Dust in Korea

A series of air pollution issues has been rising from yellow dust to fine dust in the Korean Peninsula. Many Koreans have been suffered with fine dust from the air we breathe. So, let us talk, in detail, about yellow dust and fine dust and find out how to overcome those issues.


The differences between yellow dust and fine dust

  • Yellow dust(황사): Small particles of dust clouds came from deserts and dry areas of China and Mongolia
  • Fine dust(미세먼지): Smaller particles of dust that are created both from artificial and natural phenomenon such as exhaust fumes from factories and vehicles.

Fun fact! You can check the air condition quick by the color of Seoul N Tower.

  • Sky Blue(하늘색): Really Good,  0~15㎛/㎥.
  • Green(초록색): Good, 16~50㎛/㎥
  • Yellow(노란색): Bad, 51~100㎛/㎥
  • Red(빨간색): Really bad, 101㎛/㎥
한정수 기자 @베타뉴스

Or you can use air monitoring apps on your mobile to keep you updated. Both apps below support Android and iOS.

How are they harmful to us?

  • respiratory illness such as asthma
  • cardiovascular illness
  • Effects on embryo
  • cancer
  • mental illness

As mentioned above, yellow dust and fine dust, altogether, have been bothering with our wellness. Especially, fine dust is considered to be worse than yellow dust as it penetrates deep into our organs including lung, blood vessels, brain, and etc. So, children, chronic patients, childbearing females, and pregnant should give special attention and care to themselves against those air polluting factors.

How can we cope effectively with yellow dust and fine dust?

1. Fewer outdoor activity hours

This is the ‘Introduction to Yellow Dust and Fine Dust 101’ Of course, the more you are outside, the more you are exposed to yellow dust and fine dust. So you must refrain from being outside. 

2. Wear a mask when you go out

If you have to go out for some reason, please do wear a mask(마스크). Here I am not talking about some kind of fashionable mask (some Koreans wear a mask for their style), but yellow dust and fine dust mask that are categorized with the letter ‘KF94’ or ‘KF80’. KF94 means 94% of dust can be blocked from being penetrated to your respiratory system if you wear KF94 mask. You can buy masks online at Coupang 


3. Keep your hands clean

Please remember – fine dust is thinner than your hair. If you come home, please wash your hands and face.

@질병관리본부, YouTube

4. Keep your indoor air fresh

Block polluted air from wafting to your place. Or you can buy an air purifier (Coupang – 공기청정기) or air purifying plants (Coupang – 공기정화식물) to make the air you breathe fresh. 



5. And hydrate your body!

Get more water, fruits, and vegetables to hydrate your body! Ingest as many waters as possible to excrete as much yellow dust and fine dust as possible. WATER, guys!


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