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Is Seoul's Single-Use Goods Suppression Sufficient?Disposable Plastic Bag Enforcement ↓ (Part 3)

Kim Mi-hwa, Chairman of the Korea Resource and Circulation Society, criticized, “There are many festivals and events held annually in Seoul alone. There are cases where local governments open them, but there are also cases where private organizations open with the permission from local governments. There is a huge amount of single-use items such as paper cups and PET bottles left from these events."


Kim said, "In San Francisco, the hosting group must report to the local government about opening festivals and campaigns. When the event is held, drinking fountains are installed to prevent the use of disposable items and carrying one-use goods is prohibited. I believe that Seoul should create a stronger guideline so that Seoul can be a plastic-free city. Seoul still has the potentials to change, so I hope the authorities act now."


She suggested in relation to the university festival: "Universities in Seoul use a lot of single-use goods when they celebrate. Seoul City promises to reduce the amount of single-use goods as a guideline for Seoul City. People should be able to reduce disposables more aggressively."


Kim stressed that Seoul should not miss the chance waiting for the central government to change. She said, “Events held in Seoul are the responsibility of Seoul and local governments. It's too late when the central government comes out. Seoul is an advanced city. The US also has a local government law that is progressing much faster than Seoul. Seoul has done well by now, but I hope the city gets more ambitious."


There is also a voice calling for an active response from the Ministry of Environment. The Ministry of Environment must move more actively to revise the law in order to change the 'take-out culture' of mass production of disposable products.


Kim Hyun-kyung, a member of the Seoul Environmental Federation, said, “In order for Seoul City to apply the regulation of single-use goods to the private sector beyond the government building or the subsidiary of Seoul, an active ordinance is required. However, an ordinance needs a higher legal basis to be set. The Ministry of Environment must make a law and it must be decided by Seoul bylaw. Ordinances must be backed up to spread beyond the City Hall or affiliated ward office to schools and hospitals.


Seoul City’s Specified Provisions for ‘Foods Prohibited from Carry On’ (Seoul Metropolitan Government)

Kim said, “Last year, the 'Ordinance on Financial Assistance and Safe Operation Standards for Seoul City Buses' was revised so that buses in Seoul cannot carry foods in disposable containers. This should be extended to the subway. To be extended to the subway, the bylaws must be relevant. The bylaws should change the takeout culture that encourages the use of single-use supplies."

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