FOE Korea protest against 4 major river projects21

Friends of the Earth Korea / KFEM have recently occupied a 6 metre high dam to show their opposition to the four major rivers development project.

At 4am on July 22, 2010, Five KFEM campaigners occupied a 6 metre high dam on the Namhan River, part of the four major rivers project. The group of five were protesting at the environmental destruction the project is causing.

A spokesman from the group said:

“As environmentalists we cannot understand the irrational and ecologically destructive four major rivers project. Protesting is the only thing we can do because the government ignores and rejects all the suggestions from the people on the ground.”

The South Korean government announced the four major rivers restoration project in June 2009. They claim that the Four Major Rivers Project is part of its efforts to combat climate change. However, the project threatens conservation efforts of wetlands and will stop rivers from flowing freely. Friends of the Earth Korea believe that more than 100 river wetlands on the National Wetland Inventory will be affected by the project.

Wetlands play a crucial role in flood control, water supply and water purification. The construction of levies and dams on rivers to improve flood control has often had the reverse effect. Floodplain restoration and removal of nearby structures should be considered as an alternative solution.

Friends of the Earth Korea are demanding that President Lee Myung-Bak:

  • recognise the public concerns about the project and stop it immediately
  • create an organisation to create alternatives to the four major rivers development project
  • discuss with civil society organisations and local people any future ideas for development projects