The miracle of TaeanThe number of volunteer workers helping to clean the coasts of Taean, South Chungcheong, has exceeded 500,000. Despite warnings of heavy snow, severe cold weather and high seas, 8,000 volunteers labored along the shoreline yesterday.
Some companies chose to make helping clean up the oil spill their year-end event.
The sweat and hard work of the volunteer workers have helped create the miracle of Taean, an effort that heralds great hope for the future of this country.
As volunteers from across the country form a human chain, Taean is recovering fast. In just 20 days since the accident occurred, black sand is turning to white again and pebbles and rocks that were covered by oil are now cleaned up.
Crabs and other shellfish disappeared, but now they are reappearing. Migrating birds lost their resting spots and nesting sites, but now, one by one, they are coming back.
A team of experts from the United Nations and the European Commission said there is a high possibility that the ecosystem of the affected area will be restored.
A similar accident happened in Japan in 1997 and volunteer workers played an important role in cleaning up the area.
After an oil spill in Mikuni, Fukui Prefecture, 300,000 volunteers worked for three months to clean the beaches.
But in Taean, it’s taken just three weeks. Thanks to volunteer workers, Taean is being cleaned up at an unprecedented pace, especially when compared to similar events around the world.
An association of environmentally minded journalists and other media outlets have selected volunteer workers for People of the Year awards.
Many traveled great distances and endured great hardship to help Korea overcome this national disaster. Many people have had their livelihoods affected and the delicate ecosystems in this region have suffered.
But the volunteers who made the journey to the wind-swept coastlines on the West Sea offer promise for our country. People who can turn a black swath into a river of hope ensure that our future is bright.