In response to the historic fine dust levels in Korea during the early months of the year, the Student Affairs Team in the Office of Student Affairs and Policy has announced its short-term and long-term preventive plans to minimize the potential health effects of fine dust pollution to all students and faculty.
During the months of February to April, 14 cautionary messages and two warning messages were issued in the city of Daejeon due to the high levels of fine dust pollution. Cautionary messages are issued when the average hourly PM-2.5 count exceeds 75 µg/m3 for two consecutive hours. PM-2.5 is a measure for ultra-fine dust particles with a diameter smaller than 2.5 µm. These particles infiltrate alveoli in the lungs and can cause a wide range of respiratory diseases. Warning messages are issued when the average hourly PM-2.5 count exceeds 150 µg/m3 for two consecutive hours. The normal PM-2.5 count is 16~35 µg/m3.
For its short-term plans, the Student Affairs Team announced that it will facilitate the purchase of air purifiers for use in public department facilities and research laboratories in all departments. Furthermore, the central heating ventilation and air conditioning policy in educational facilities, such as the Creative Learning Building (E11), Undergraduate Branch Library (N10), and the KAIST Central Library (E9), will be changed such that higher levels of air quality are maintained. Before the change, the central ventilation system was only activated in response to “emergency fine dust measures”, which are declared when the current day PM-2.5 count reaches 50 µg/m3 and the predicted PM-2.5 counts for one or two days later exceed 75 µg/m3. After the policy change, the central ventilation system will be activated when fine dust levels reach a “bad” level, which ranges from 36 to 75 µg/m3. In addition to these measures, dust masks will be provided to students and employees working outdoors and the dust pollution level will be displayed on the on-campus LED electronic banners.
The long-term plans include the replacement of air ventilation systems in older buildings, which will be replaced in the order of their establishment. If certain buildings prove difficult in the installation of an air ventilation system, the placement of air purifiers and related budget will be considered.