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Seoul to fight against closed tents, trash in Hangang parks

The Seoul Metropolitan Government laid out plans Sunday to designate tent zones and reduce the amount of trash generated in parks along the Han River, as part of efforts to better keep the parks clean and boost public safety.

Banpo Hangang Park (Ock Hyun-ju/The Korea Herald)
Banpo Hangang Park (Ock Hyun-ju/The Korea Herald)

Tents will only be allowed from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 13 specific tent zones in 11 riverside parks -- including two in Yeouido Hangang Park and two in Banpo Hangang Park. In the zones, tents must be smaller than 2 meters tall and 2 meters wide, and at least two sides of the tents must remain open.

Those who violate the rule could face a fine of up to 1 million won ($880).

As for reasons to designate tent zones, the city government cited damage to the nature of the riverside parks, generation of trash and public concerns over “inappropriate” behavior in closed tents in public spaces.

The city government will also restrict those hired by local restaurants to distribute flyers for food delivery services. The flyers will only be allowed to be put up at notice boards in five designated “food delivery” areas – two in Ttukseom and three in Yeouido.

A street cleaner (Yonhap)
A street cleaner (Yonhap)

Those planning to hold events in the riverside parks – such as a night market -- now must submit a plan for the cleanup and pay a deposit in advance, and abide by “cleaning guidelines” to be released by the municipality. Otherwise, their request for a permit to use the park space can be denied.

Trash at the riverside parks will be collected four times a day, instead of three times, according to the city government.

The number of people making their way to the riverside parks along the Han River has almost doubled over 10 years – from 40 million in 2008 and 75 million in 2017, with one person visiting a riverside park seven times on average per year, according to government data. 

Amid the increase in the number of visitors, the amount of trash generated in the riverside parks has risen by more than 12 percent recently -- from 3,806 metric tons in 2015 to 4,832 tons in 2017 -- the city government said.