S.Korea's New Way of Dealing With the Heat
Aug. 30, 2017
People in South Korea are struggling to stay cool as the country deals with scorching weather this summer. There have been many cases of heat stroke and in some extreme incidents, people have died. It's compelling officials to find new ways to help citizens beat the heat.
The weather is sweltering. On any given day, temperatures across the country can reach as high as 39 degrees.
"It's so hot that I can hardly breathe."
"It's getting hotter. I sweat a lot. It's hard to put on make-up."
To combat the ongoing heat wave, the local government has come up with various measures, like setting up parasols in the middle of the city's streets. The shade has been created for citizens to briefly escape the blazing sun.
In Seoul, the city has other ways to cope, such as sprinkler trucks and mist-spraying pipes.
There is also a new program aimed at helping low-income residents. It's called the "Cool Roof Campaign," and the city is covering the costs.
Roofs absorb heat quickly, causing the temperature inside to rise. Cho Yun-Seok is the director of an environmental research institute and is leading the program.
He says painting roofs white helps reflect 88% of solar heat, which can help lower the temperature. "On an individual basis, you can reduce your electricity bill. It also leads to less energy consumption which means lower emissions that can help prevent climate change."
Before beginning the process, the building’s temperature is a whopping 45.6 degrees. But when the job is finished, it's dropped by almost half.
"My house is so hot because of my roof that it's hard to go inside these days. I can't turn on both the fan and air conditioner forever because I would get a huge bill," says the landlord.
Cho has been implementing this program in other major cities across the country, and with the heat showing no signs of cooling down, he hopes to expand it further.