UN Publishes Environmental Report on North Korea

    August 29, 2004 21:54

    The first report on environmental conditions in North Korea such as the quality of water, air, forest, soil, and diversity of wildlife has been published.

    The United Nations Development Program, United Nations Environment Program and North Korean authorities jointly released the “2003 Environmental Condition of North Korea” on Friday.

    Although there was lack of materials, it is the first time a comprehensive report on North Korea’s environmental conditions has been released to the public. In addition, North Korea signed a joint-activity agreement in the main office of the UNDP in Nairobi, Kenya, in order to strengthen its environmental protection.

    The report indicated that forest damage is the most serious environmental problem faced by North Korea. Unauthorized felling occurs so trees could be used as wood or fuel, and reclamation of forests for farming land in order to increase food productivity are the key reasons.

    In addition, water pollution in North Korea was found to be serious because proper disposal of foul water and wastewater does not take place. About 30,000 cubic meters of industrial wastewater are discharged daily into the Daedong River, which flows across Pyongyang.

    The downstream of the Yalu River, which flows along the Sino-Korean border, is growing polluted because of industrial wastewater and foul water. The report also noted that North Korea’s air pollution is a concern because the nation relies on coal for its electricity production and home heating.

    North Korea’s environmental laws should be revised and investment and development must be made in basic environmental facilities, said the report.

    Scientific investigation about environmental pollution must be carried out and a contamination detecting system and related statistics at a national level are essential, it said.

    The UNEP proposed 16 priority coordinative projects, such as establishing and maintaining logging forests, a water contamination monitoring system for the Daedong River and inspecting air pollution in the Pyongyang area.

    (Kwon Sang-eun, sekwon@chosun.com)
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