BEIJING/SEOUL, The capital cities of South Korea and China agreed Monday to launch a joint research group to study ways to tackle the growing threats from fine dust particles, officials said.

The municipalities of Seoul and Beijing reached the agreement during a bilateral climate environment forum held in the Chinese capital in the afternoon.

Beginning next year, the joint research group will closely analyze midair fine dust in the two cities to find the cause for their deteriorating air quality, the officials said.

The group will also evaluate the sources of volatile organic compounds, which are the cause of fine dust, and measures to reduce them, they explained.

It plans to release its research conclusions in the second half of next year.

A file photo taken Nov. 16, 2018, shows the sky of downtown Seoul full of fine dust. (Yonhap)

hide caption

The joint research group will include the Seoul Institute of Public Health and Environment, the Beijing Municipal Research Institute of Environmental Protection and the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Monitoring Center.

"The formation of a joint study team is expected to help determine the origins of fine dust scientifically," a Seoul Metropolitan Government official said.

At the forum, the Seoul government introduced its policies related to climate and the environment, including the expansion of solar power generation, as well as goals to halve the use of disposable plastics and increase the recycling rate of waste to 70 percent by 2022.

The two cities will also share information on the latest electric car infrastructure and technologies with the participation of private enterprises.

Source: Yonhap News Agency