Korea plans to halve sewage discharged to sea

South Korea has outlined plans to halve the amount of sewage discharged into the sea by 2011.

The Ministry of Maritime Affairs Fisheries has said that more of its toxic chemicals should be disposed of on land. It plans to install a tele-metering system to enterprises discharging effluent by 2007 to prevent dumping related accidents.

Testers will be installed in 2,443 wastewater-related workplaces across the nation, and connected to a control center to be set up at the Environmental Management Corp. (EMC) for constant surveillance.

This should make it possible to manage approximately 86.7% of the total effluent produced each year, the Ministry says.

Testers will be set up at factories and workplaces for the TMS make it possible to check and gauge a variety of harmful materials, such as bio-chemical oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand, total nitrogen, total phosphorous and suspended solid.

Testers will vary according to workplace and the ingredient of the effluent discharged.

The government plans to extend 170-200 million won (up to US$200,000) in financial support to companies installing testers.

When companies are found out to have discharged harmful effluent more than allowed, a penalty charge will be levied or technical assistance will be provided by the EMC depending on the cause.

In addition the Ministry is planning a crack down over the next three months on those who illegally dump waste into the sea.

Aircraft and patrol ships will watch the nation's coastline to prevent the dumping, while mapping out measures to support fishermen suffering from the effects of waste being dumped.

The Ministry will also work with the Korean Food and Drug Administration to check whether any food products from areas where dumping has taken place is contaminated.

Last year a total of 9.75 million tons of sewage was dumped into the ocean around Korea, up by nearly 10 times from 1990.

David Hopkins



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