Environmental Health Strategies in Korea

우리 나라의 환경정책 방향

  • Published : 1992.06.01


Since 1960's along with industrialization and urbanization, economic growth has been . achieved, however, at the same time, environmental condition has been seriously deteriorated. . Currently, volume of wastewater has been increasing at annual rate of 7% in sewage and 20% in industrial wastewater. However, the nation's sewage treatment serves only 33% of the municipal wastewater as of 1991. Major portion of air pollutants comes from combustion of oil and coal which comprise 81% of total energy use and emission gases from motor vehicles increasing at an accelerated rate. It is known that Korea generates the highest amount of waste per capta. Nevertheless, it is not sufficient to reduce the volume of waste by means of resources recovery and recycling. Recognizing the importance of global environmental problems such as ozone layer depletion, global warming and acid rain, international society has been making various efforts since the 1972 Stockholm conference. In particular, it is expected that the Rio conference which has adopted the Rio declaration and Agenda 21 will form a crucial turning point of the emerging new world order after the Cold War confrontation. To cope with such issues as domestic pollution and global environmental problems, the fundamental national policy aims at harmonizing "environmental protection and sustainable development". The Ministry of Environment has recently set up a mid-term comprehensive plan which includes annual targets for environmental protection. According to the government plan, gradual improvement of various environmental conditions and specific measures to achieve them is planned in time frame. Additional sewage treatment plants will be constructed in urban areas with the target to treat 65% of the nation's municipal sewage by 1996. Supply of clean fuels such as LNG will also be expanded starting from large cities as a cleaner substitute energy for coal and oil. In parallel with expansion of LNG, emphasis will be placed on installation of stack monitoring system. Due to the relatively limited land, government's basic policy for solid waste treatment is to develop large scale landfill facilities rather than small sized ones. Thirty three regional areas have been designated for the purpose of waste management. For each of these regions, big scale landfill site is going to be developed. To increase the rate of waste recycling the government is planning to reinforce separate collection system and to provide industries with economic incentives. As a part of meeting the changing situation on global environmental problems after UNCED, and accommodation regulatory measures stipulated in the global environmental conventions and protocols, national policy will try to alter industrial and economic structure so as to mitigate the increasing trends of energy consumption, by encouraging energy conservation and efficiency. In this regard, more attention will be given to the policy on the development of the cleaner technology. Ultimately, these policies and programs will contribute greatly to improving the current state of national public health.