It has become the new norm for Koreans to check the fine dust levels before heading out.
The environment minister and climate experts gathered together on Thursday to get to the bottom of the problem.
"The government is treating fine dust as a national disaster and is operating to protect our citizens' health with 'all out' efforts to cut fine dust emissions by 35.8 percent by 2022.
And to meet those steep emissions targets, the environment minister stressed the need to tackle pollution in dead zones, areas where emissions levels aren't monitored, such as ports, domestic boilers and agriculture.
In fact, pollutants from ships and ports seriously affect port cities like Busan.
One cargo vessel emits the same amount of PM 2.5 particles as 500-thousand trucks and the same amount of sulphur oxide as 50 million diesel cars.
The Korea Transport Institute also raised the issue of old diesel cars and trucks on the road, saying that four out of ten trucks on the road are over ten years old.
"It will be much more efficient if we set priorities according to the amount of emissions and run the reduction measures."
Dr. Shim Chang-sub from the Korea Environment Institute says despite falling emissions, fine dust isn't decreasing.
"Recent climate change somewhat works against reducing fine dust because more rainy days are better for washing away the fine dust rather than the total amount of precipitation.
He also pointed to reduced average wind speed since 2012, which means less pollutants are blown away.
"Each ministry and institution has a different approach to tackling fine dust levels, but they all have a common goal of reducing emissions and making South Korea and the world a less polluted, cleaner place.
Cha Sang-mi, Arirang News."