TLC for the environmentA study by the Davos Forum reported that Korea is one of the worst countries in the world on some environmental indicators, such as air pollution, reflecting the shameful reality of our perception and performance on environmental issues. The research teams of Yale University and Columbia University released the Environmental Performance Index in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday. The index evaluates countries on 25 indicators such as pollution in the ozone layer.
South Korea received 79.4 points, ranking 51st out of 149 countries. It is far behind neighboring Japan, which ranked 21st. Korea is ranked near Mexico (47), Sri Lanka (50) and Thailand (53). Particularly, South Korea was ranked as one of the worst countries on air pollution (147), sulfur dioxide emissions (148) and farming subsidies (145).
Korea’s economy has grown to be the world’s 12th-largest but when it comes to preserving the environment, the country is still in the phase of underdeveloped countries. The people have a tendency to waste energy and government policies are not environment-friendly, which are two major problems. Last year, Korea’s energy consumption per person was fifth in the world and its emission of greenhouse gases was 10th. Even though Korea imports all the oil it consumes, Koreans keep their houses so warm that they wear shorts indoors in winter. This lifestyle damages our environment. As economic growth is prioritized, environmental issues are underrated when crafting policies. A good example is the Saemangeum reclamation project. According to the Ministry of Environment, Korea received low scores on dangers to the ecosystem because it has undertaken many projects that ignore and damage the environment.
Preservation of the environment is a task we can no longer avoid. We need to hand down a decent, healthy place to our descendants. Because Korea is a small country, it is difficult to achieve economic development and preserve of nature at the same time. The government must push environmentally friendly policies by developing new and renewable energy that is less harmful to the environment and increase the efficiency of industrial energy. If it is hard for the Ministry of Environment to carry out the job alone, the government can create a body to discuss policies.
What’s most important, however, is a change in public perception of environment issues and their participation. Nationwide, people must be aware of the issue and try hard to use less energy.