Asia-Pacific

Rain proposal to clean Seoul air

An artificial rain project with China has been proposed to tackle air pollution in Seoul. (AAP)

An acute rise in air pollution in Seoul has prompted South Korea's President Moon Jae-in to propose a joint project with China to create artificial rain.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has proposed a joint project with China to use artificial rain to clean the air in Seoul, where an acute increase in pollution has caused alarm.

Moon also instructed government officials to quicken the retirement of old coal-burning power plants, according to his spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom.

Seoul has been struggling to tackle the rise in air pollution that experts have linked to China's massive industrial activity and emissions from South Korean cars.

Fine dust levels in South Korea have hit new highs over the past week, with commuters wearing masks under thick grey skies which have been compared to the scenes from the film Wall-E.

In a meeting with government officials, Moon noted that China was "much more advanced" than South Korea in technology for initiating rain and expressed hope that creating rain over waters between the countries would help mitigate air pollution, Kim said.

In January a failed experiment by South Korea's weather agency to create artificial rain used an aircraft to release chemicals into the clouds over the sea.

"China has claimed that South Korea's dust flies toward Shanghai, so creating artificial rain over the Yellow Sea would help the Chinese side too," Kim quoted Moon as saying during the meeting. Moon also proposed South Korea and China develop a joint system for issuing air pollution alerts, according to Kim.

In a meeting with top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi last year, Moon said China was partially responsible for South Korea's pollution problem and called for Beijing's cooperation in Seoul's efforts to improve air quality.

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