Stop reclamation plan

Friday 30 April 1999

local environmental groups in South Korea have demanded an end to a large-scale reclamation project now underway on the southwestern coast of the nation. "The project should be scrapped immediately since it will have a serious negative impact on the environment," said a spokesperson of Green Korea United, an environmental group. The focus is on a huge area of mud flats inhabited by a variety of water birds and sea creatures. If the reclamation project proceeds, the mud flats will disappear and the water will get polluted, say environmentalists. Launched in 1991 by the North Cholla province government and the central ministry of agriculture and forestry, the Saemangum Reclamation Project is aiming to convert 40,000 hectares (ha) of tidal flats on the northwestern coast of the province into 28,300 ha of farmland and a large freshwater lake for irrigation.

Green Korea United, along with other civic groups, has threatened to launch a 100-day demonstration against the project soon. The Korean Federation for Environmental Movement ( kfem ) also called on the government to halt the project immediately. The environmental groups' demands came a day after You Jong-keun, governor of North Cholla, suggested the formation of a civilian-government team to evaluate the environmental impact of the project.

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