Kwangju archdiocese today began a 10-day “pilgrimage” to walk alongside a river to protest the government’s failure to stop destruction of the environment. About 60 priests, nuns and Catholics participated in the walk along Yeongsangang River in Jeollanam-do province. Father Raphael Kim Jae-hak, president of the archdiocese's Committee for Justice and Peace told participants that this pilgrimage aims to warn that those who destroy the environment will be judged by history as “sinners." Father Kim said his committee would start "a research meeting to restore the river" with experts who have warned that the destruction of the river would bring about a great disaster in the near future. The river is part of the US$19 billion project that aims to improve water quality and prevent flooding, the government says. However, civil and religious groups are protesting the project saying it would turn rivers into canals and kill aquatic life and damage the environment. The archdiocesan committee's statement read out before the pilgrimage noted that Park Joon-yung, the provincial governor announced he would build a gate at the mouth of the river which it says signifies the government’s intention to build canals. KO13884.1648
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