Seoul: On Course To Be One of the World's Greenest Cities?

Seoul, host of this year’s G20, is well on the way to
achieving its goal of becoming one of the world’s most eco-friendly
cities. But, as Anna Sheldrick reports, there may be room for
improvement elsewhere in South Korea

Korea, - Despite the
disappointment of COP15 in Copenhagen last year, and wary
expectation for href=””
target=”_blank”>COP16 in Cancun this year,
delegates at the latest G20 (Group of 20 major economies) meeting
in Seoul earlier this month reaffirmed their commitment to fighting
climate change. World leaders there said they would class=”bodycontents1”>’spare no effort to reach a balanced
and successful outcome in Cancun’.

Had they taken note of their surroundings, they would have
seen what can be achieved with a little political will and some
genuine commitment to the environment. By redesigning its road
layout and revamping its public transport systems, the South Korean
capital is now bidding to become one of the greenest cities in the

It’s certainly come a long way since the 1960s and 1970s,
when South Korea went through an industrial boom that took it from
being the second-poorest nation in the UN to one of the richest.
The sudden increase in its wealth did not come without
consequences, however, and in the early 1980s people began to
notice the impact that this economic growth was having on the

Over the past decade South Korea, and particularly the
capital city Seoul, has taken drastic steps to try to reduce the
amount of pollution it creates and to curb its reliance on fossil
fuels. This has involved taking small steps and attempting to
re-educate a money-fixated culture.

Seeing large roads and old buildings being demolished in
the capital, not all South Koreans have agreed with what is
happening in Seoul. Its citizens are slowly beginning to reap the
benefits, however, as the health and economic benefits of turning
their heavily polluted city into a green haven become

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By Anna Sheldrick

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