Chemical companies such as LG Chem and Hanwha Chemical were found to have colluded with air pollutants measurement agencies and manipulated levels of fine dust-causing substances.
The Ministry of Environment announced on April 17 that it has detected four measurement agencies that fabricated emissions of dust and sulfur oxide, the cause of fine dust.
The companies were found to have measured air pollutants at 235 workplaces for about four years from 2015 and issued false reports as they did without having to actually measure.
Six of them, including LG Chem and Hanwha Chemical's factories in Yeosu, were found to have colluded with measurement agencies to manipulate the concentration of air pollutants emission.
Accordingly, the Yeongsan River Basin Environment Agency sent four measurement agencies and six emission companies that fabricated emissions levels to the prosecution on April 15 on charges of violating the air environment conservation law.
"This incident is directly contrary to LG Chem's management ideology and my management philosophy, which cannot be explained by any logic and should not happen in any case," LG Chem CEO Shin Hak-cheol said in an apology on April 17. "We decided to shut down related production facilities to fulfill our responsibility for the incident."
"We believe the latest case of detection in Gwangju and South Jeolla Province will be the tip of the iceberg," the ministry said. "We will come up with a comprehensive reform plan to eradicate illegal activities by next month through a nationwide inspection."