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River project opponents shift tack

Will hold government accountable by monitoring scheme's environmental impact

The Investigation Committee of Four Major Rivers Project's press conference
The Investigation Committee of Four Major Rivers Project's press conference
  • ucanews.com staff, Seoul
  • Korea
  • February 14, 2012
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Activists and religious groups have formed a new body to monitor the environmental impact of the controversial Four Rivers Project and vowed to hold the government accountable for any adverse effects.

The Investigation Committee of Four Major Rivers Project, consisting of 10 organizations, was launched yesterday.

“We have seen many problems with the project, such as soil erosion, flooded farmland and bridge collapses. We must investigate the government’s wrongdoing thoroughly to protect the environment and lives," the leaders of the new committee said in a statement yesterday.

The government went ahead with the project despite strong opposition from many circles. It has insisted the 23 trillion won (US$20-billion) project is necessary to protect waterways and the environment by dredging and damming the country’s major rivers.

It is due to be completed by the end of this year.

Environmentalists believe the project will lead to an ecological disaster and will in fact hamper the natural flow of the rivers.

Since the project has almost been completed, we will move our focus from opposition to monitoring, said Augustine Maeng Joo-hyung, coordinator of the Catholic Solidarity for Deterrence of Four Major Rivers Project.

So the committee will conduct studies and will take legal action against the government in cases where damage has been done, the activist said.

“The government has been conducting a project that is anti-life and unethical, so we should make an effort to minimize the damage this project causes,” said Father Paul Suh Sang-geen, one of the new committee members.

Related reports

Bishops confirm opposition to river project

River project is theft, Korean bishop says


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