LOCAL environmental groups in South Korea have strongly demanded an end to a large-scale reclamation project now underway on the nation's south western coast. "The project should be scrapped immediately since it will have a serious impact on the environment urged," a spokesperson of environmental group Green Korea United. The focus is on a huge area of mud flats inhabited by a variety of water birds and marine creatures. If the project proceeds, the mud flats will disappear and the water will become polluted, say the environmentalists. Launched in 1991 by North Cholla Province and the ministry of agriculture and forestry, the Saemangum Reclamation Project seeks 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 fresh-water lake for irrigation.
Green Korea United will soon launch a 100-day demonstration against the project, along with other civic groups. 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 Province, suggested the formation of a civilian-government team to evaluate the environmental impact of the project.
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