Seoul residents are apparently starved for forests, trees and parks compared to residents of other major capitals.
Green space in Seoul stands at just one-ninth the level of London on a per-capita basis, main opposition Democratic United Party lawmaker Park Min-soo said on Monday, drawing on data from the Korea Forest Service. As of 2009, Seoul had 3.1 sq.m of green space per capita, compared to London's 27 sq.m.
Seoul also fares poorly compared to other parts of the country, with North Jeolla Province boasting 16.4 sq.m per capita, Busan 12.4 sq.m. and Daegu 5.3 sq.m.
Green areas in urban centers play a huge role in improving the quality of air for residents. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that cities try to keep per-capita green space to at least 9 sq.m., which is three times more than in Seoul.
While the Seoul Metropolitan Government has focused on building artificial recreational areas and facilities such as Gwanghwamun Square, Seoul City Hall Square and the restored Cheonggyecheon Stream, it neglected to protect the city's natural green resources.