[Editorial] We cannot bear the responsibility of allowing the destruction of the four great rivers
Posted on : Nov.10,2009 12:04 KST Modified on : Nov.10,2009 12:06 KST
The Four Rivers Restoration Project begins in earnest today. The construction is to begin immediately, after seemingly waiting for the findings of the Ministry of Environment‘s (MOE) environmental impact assessment. All sorts of concerns about reductions in water quality and destruction of the environment were completely ignored. It appears it is impossible to hope for any more rational discussion with an administration that remains obstinate about pushing the project.
Just imagining the effects of executing the Four Rivers Restoration Project as planned is horrible. Instead of flowing, river water will rot as it is trapped behind dams and weirs, while the wildlife growing on the riverbanks will die under dikes of concrete. Most of the aquatic ecology will be destroyed as river floors are dredged, and it is clear that the terrace land by the four rivers will be suffocated underneath cement as 1,700 kilometers of bicycle routes are built. Indiscriminate developmentalists are mangling our four main rivers, the Han, Nakdong, Guem and the Youngsan, which should be wholly preserved and bequeathed to our descendants.
The greatest responsibility for the Four Rivers Restoration Project coming to this point lays with President Lee Myung-bak. He is using his success with the Cheonggyecheon restoration project accomplished during his time as Seoul mayor to push forward this project. The restoration of the Cheonggyecheon, no more than a neighborhood stream, and the restoration of the four great rivers that feed the lands of southern Korea, are incomparable matters. The aim to complete this project that will cost taxpayers an estimated 20 trillion Won in just two to three years is nothing more than an act of greed intent on achieving a project of scale during his term. The four rivers are about to be destroyed as a result of President Lee’s egoism that stems from ignorance about the environment.
Minister of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs Chung Jong-hwan and Environment Minister Lee Maan-ee will be unable to escape historical responsibility as accessories to the destruction of the four rivers. Chung, who styles himself a “Little MB” to a sickening extent, has been pushing the Four Rivers Restoration Project using all sorts of expedients and illegalities. In particular, Lee, by tacitly approving the environmental destruction caused by the Four Rivers project, has abandoned his role as Environment Minister. He will be recorded as a blot on South Korea’s history of environmental policy.
At any rate, construction for the Four Rivers Restoration Project commences today. It will soon be revealed just how much the four rivers will be destroyed as a result. We cannot just standby and watch it happen. To do so is ultimately no different than participating in the destruction of the four rivers. For this reason, just as the full-scale launch of the Four Rivers Restoration Project takes place today, so must the launch of a full-scale fight to save our four great rivers.