It’s safe to say that for Korea, rivers represent the arteries of the country, providing it with a life essence that helps the country run and thrive. Over the years, Korea’s rivers have suffered from the country’s industrial growth and negligence of the greater society. That’s all changing.
As you can see in the videos below, not only is Korea reinvesting into their four major river systems, the Han River, Nakdong River, Geum River and Yeongsan River, they are planning on making them catalysts for cultural, economic and environmental advancements in the cities that traditionally have relied on these rivers. The videos are great and do a really good job of getting people excited to bring back the Chi that flows from the four rivers.
The Four Major Rivers Project has been declared officially completed in October, 2011. It had five key objectives: securing abundant water resources to combat water scarcity; implementing comprehensive flood control measures; improving water quality and restoring river ecosystems, creating multipurpose spaces for local residents; and regional development centered on the rivers. There are some debates as to whether it was worth the effort and money and environmental groups question the impact on the natural flow of the rivers. However, my initial thoughts are that the pollution being dumped into the rivers for the last 50 years likely had a greater impact.
See some more articles here:
The Economist - The dredgery must go on
The Hankyoreh – Decoding the Four Rivers Confusion
Source: In Yeon