Monday, March 03, 2008

Hwangsa (황사)

The elementary school kids didn't have to start their new school year today as planned. The school was closed due to "hwangsa," also known as Asian, or yellow dust. It was so bad today - it actually looked as if it was raining this morning! It's quite unusual for our local elementary school to close down. We've been through typhoons and they've stayed open!

I've written about this before, as it happens every year. I asked my boss if she remembers if it happened this early last year. She couldn't remember, but did tell me that the yellow dust is a fairly new thing in Korea. It's getting worse and worse. Today's air quality was listed as "hazardous."

It's not just as if a bunch of sand blows in, either. As Wiki notes, this crap also contains "Sulphur (an acid rain component), soot, ash, carbon monoxide, and other toxic pollutants including heavy metals (such as mercury, cadmium, chromium, arsenic, lead, zinc, copper) and other carcinogens, as well as viruses, bacteria, fungi, pesticides, antibiotics, asbestos, herbicides, plastic ingredients, combustion products as well as hormone mimicking phthalates."

Sweet.

I know I woke up all stuffed up and have sported a sore throat and raspy cough all day. I think I'm going to have to buy a mask to wear, I really find yellow dust days to be really brutal. I'm sure the Car Washes are raking it in, though!

2 comments:

Suzi said...

Dear heavens! That sounds insidious and terrible. Will it go away as fast as it came? I hope so!

It's Me...Maven said...

Get a neti pot!