Seoul, South Korea

Environmental Problems and Possible Solutions

Problem: Urbanization and Carbon Emissions

After the Korean War, urbanization has increased quickly causing a problem to the people and the environment. Country people have moved to the capital which caused a demand for buildings. In 2003, the average annual growth rate of carbon emissions was 1.63 percent. These emissions come from cars, construction, and people which harm the plants, the water, as well as the population because they breath in all the toxins.

Solutions: Urbanization and Carbon Emissions

  • Korea implemented a "Greenbelt" around some areas of Seoul, Incheon, and Gyeonggi as a "Development Restriction Zone" in order to protect the environment. This helps by keeping the environment under control through specialized care including the people who live on or near the Greenbelt.
  • The government divided Seoul into regions to minimize the population during daytime. The regions were made based on where people work, live, and have fun. This helps the environment by cutting down on the carbon made by cars. Now people are in walking distance from work or home or even stores, restaurants, theaters, and so on.
  • Construction has been a MUST in Korea since after the Korean War; however, the government has put restrictions on companies and construction workers in order to minimize the carbon emissions that re being let out. This reduces the emissions made by trucks and other equipment.
  • The government has made walking or riding a bicycle a "regulation". People are expected to use their feet to move around whether to work or home or to have fun. This way emissions are minimized and the environment is somewhat cleaner. If this isn't an option special electric cars are to be used to keep emission levels under control.
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Problem: Winter Season and Pollution

During the winter season, many Koreans use coal to warm up their houses which causes pollution to the air and the water. Both Japan and Korea has begun to worry that China's smog will travel to those countries and mix with the pollution in the air and create a bigger problem for Korea especially the large cities like Seoul and Busan. Seoul's air quality has been ranked a 3 out of 6. The among contains toxic heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and arsenic.

Solution: Winter Season and Pollution

  • China, Korea, and Japan are working together to protect the environment from pollution in all three countries especially China. Korea plans to cooperate with China to try to start up environmental technology and keep it running to protect the environment.
  • The government suggests purchasing large amounts of warm blankets, winter coats and clothes, and electric heaters to reduce the amount of coal being burned. If money is needed the government suggests seeking out for local facilities that offer heating rooms and other sources.
  • Smog can be reduced by certain restrictions such as walking or bicycling, electric cars, and electric equipment instead of coal or fuel.
  • Certain metals have restrictions on them. For example, Iron and steel companies have either had to reduce the amount of products or shut down completely.

Problem: Biomass Burning

In 2003, 20-30% of total emissions came from man-made and/or natural forest fires and savanna/grassland burning. Exposure to biomass burning causes health problems for people, global climate (greenhouse effect), and reduction of vegetation cover. About 63% and 82% of the total concentration of PAHs came from burning biomasses and coal (residential and Coke oven.)

Porton of Total Vegetated Area Of Each Region

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Solutions: Biomass Burning

  • BlueSky has researched and experimented on land cover to try to find a possible solution to reduce emissions made by Biomass burning. So far research has concluded that plume can be calculated if there are enough hot gases in a point location.
  • Researchers suggest companies and other people, such as farmers, to use maps that BlueSky has developed. This will help reduce the amount of smog in the country since the amount of gases, pollution, and smoke will decrease.
  • The government suggests the people find other sources of getting the products they need while research find safer solutions.
  • Researchers suggest leaving all plants and trees be until the are necessary to cut or burn down. i.e. wood

Problem: Water Pollution

This happens because of sewer discharge, industrial emissions, drift net fishing, and wasteful packaging of consumer goods. City sewer systems are overtaxed, acid rain is pouring, sea level is rising, and a lot of creatures are dying or becoming endangered.
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Solution: Water Pollution

  • Koreans are suggested to reduce food waste, hazardous fishing, harmful chemical coming from land, and other things that could end up harming the water.
  • The government has created facilities that separate oil another chemicals from the water, so volunteers are needed for that.
  • New methods of disposing ANY kind of waste for example food waste, wrappers, plastics, cans, animal and human waste, among others.
  • Also, Korea and it's people must improve their hygiene level in order for it and them to get better and healthier.
  • A huge way people think they can improve their country is through enforcing EVERY single person from children to grandparents. Getting everyone aware and on the same page can help smooth out the ought patches not only in Seoul or Busan but all over Korea, even in America.
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Korea, China, Japan shake hands in environmental cooperation 한, 중, 일 환경장관회의 오늘 합의문 채택

Crazy Facts:

  • Government reported on 2011,8,17 that a popular stream running through the Seoul has been severely polluted by bacteria. It contained as many as 53 times the legal limit of colon bacillus. Mojeon Bridge upstream had 7201 bacteria, and in the downstream, there were 53,303 bacteria.
  • The level of urbanization rose drastically from 35.8 percent in 1960 to 85.0 percent in 1995 (Kwon, 2001).