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South Korea Goes Green

New America Media, News Diegst, Aruna Lee Posted: Jul 19, 2008

South Korean media have been devoting an increasing amount of attention to environmental issues, writes NAM writer Aruna Lee. She blogs at Korea Dispatch.

SEOUL -- South Korean media have been devoting an increasing amount of attention to environmental issues, with daily or weekly sections dedicated to current trends, advice, and activities related to the environment. The increasing popularity of walking clubs and the coinage of a new phrase, walkaholic, are examples of this.

Another hot topic is the reduction in the use of vampire lights, the little lights on appliances that drain energy.

Environmentally conscious South Koreans seem to be serious about wanting to improve the local environment and alerting people to their cause.

Cyclists on Parade

On July 14, more than 1,000 cycling enthusiasts went on parade in the city of Taejeon, about an hour away from Seoul. The event was part of an international cycling symposium promoting environmental and physical health through bicycles.

Korea needs to establish more bicycle lanes to encourage people to get out of the cars and ride more, said one participant. This will help both peoples and the environments well-being.

A Dutch participant criticized existing bike lanes in Korea, which share the road with pedestrians. Lanes like this are in fact somewhat dangerous and can cause serious accidents.

Cyclists need more legal protection, as well as improved enforcement of existing traffic laws, noted one Korean official.

Seouls Gasoline Price Eighth Highest in World

The Korea Times reports that Seoul is the eighth most expensive place in the world for drivers to fill up their tanks as the city's gasoline prices average $7.33 per gallon.

The Korean government last week announced several energy saving measures. City employees will be required to use their vehicles every other day, depending on the last number of their license plates. Half of their vehicles will be replaced with more energy-efficient compacts or hybrids by 2012. The government also urged citizens to voluntarily cut back on driving.

Oil prices reduce traffic

Rising oil prices seem to be having an effect.

A recent story in JoonAng reports that rising gas prices have reduced the number of cars on Koreas highly congested highways, along with an accompanying increase in the number of riders on public transportation.

A stationmaster in one of Seouls many subway stations noted, There are over 370 people riding in a carriage that is supposed to hold 150 at full capacity. Usually, the number of passengers decreases in the summer," he said, "but this year they have been increasing since May.

For more information in English and Korean on how to save energy, visit Flex Your Power (Korean)

Related Articles:

Beijing Turns Green Before the Olympics

Ethnic Restaurants Save Green by Going Green

Why Congress Can Kiss My Gas!

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