Seoul city to create massive forests along Han River

The Seoul municipal government said Monday it will create massive forests along the Han River, which flows through the South Korean capital city, by 2030 as part of efforts to restore its ecological system and improve water quality.

Under the comprehensive plan to create desirable environments on and surrounding the river, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will create a total of 13 forests on the banks along the river over the next 15 years.

The forests will have a combined area of 1.04 million square meters, accounting for some 12 per cent of the banks established along the river, according to officials.

As part of efforts to restore the ecological axis centering on the river, the government will also launch forestation projects from the riverside all the way to mountains in every direction of the city, they added.

In a move to restore habitats for diverse species, the city vowed to remove artificial shore protection to apply to an environmentally friendly way of revetment and to make wetlands near tributaries.

The city also said it will carry out repair work on floors of parking lots and leisure facilities along the river to improve quality of water “to the degree where citizens can enjoy swimming” and to come up with diverse tour and interactive programs.

“The comprehensive plan aims to restore the river that has been damaged over the course of Seoul’s decades-long urbanization,” said city official Han Gook-hyung.

“We will push for diverse projects in a way to strike a balance and seek coexistence between the environment and human beings,” he added.

The Han is the fourth longest river on the Korean Peninsula, and its upper streams have been a major source of tap water for the citizens. The lower stretches of the river are lined with diverse leisure facilities for the public such as pedestrian walkways, parks and bicycle lanes.

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