Seoul had dangerously high concentrations which peaked at 783 micrograms per cubic meter.
Gunsan in Jeollabuk-do Province and the southwestern city of Gwangju saw a density of over a thousand micrograms per cubic meter.
In response, authorities on Monday issued yellow dust warnings in at least 10 cities in South Korea, including in the capital Seoul for the first time in six years.
“As you can see behind me, Seoul’s skyline is obscured by a heavy cloud of yellow dust.
Staying outdoors for a prolonged period today could lead to irritation of the eyes and throat.”
The thick air has people concerned.
“I am really worried, even if I’m wearing a mask, there’s no guarantee that the dust wouldn’t seep through. I can feel my eyes itch. I don’t feel any other symptoms but I can definitely feel my eyes itch.”
“I’m a little worried, but I’ve prepared myself well. I wore my mask tightly and I’m drinking water regularly. If it gets worse, I’m going to wear sunglasses.
Fine and ultrafine dust, which are toxic dust caused by industrial activities, also reached hazardous levels.
“Yellow dust particles will mix with the other particles which continue to linger in the air, causing the density to increase throughout tonight. But the density will fade as tomorrow comes.”
Experts say high levels of dust can cause severe infections to the respiratory system, potentially increasing the risk of COVID-19 infection.
“The yellow dust will damage your respiratory system’s ability to defend itself. It will hurt the ciliated cells that make up the respiratory tract’s defense ability, and make it easier for many other pathogens like the coronavirus to enter.
But experts say that this won’t be the last yellow dust of this spring season.
Kim Yeon-seung, Arirang News