The Korea Herald


Environmental budget tops 5 trillion won


Published : Oct. 17, 2011 - 20:34

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Korea’s budget for environmental projects will exceed 5 trillion won next year for the first time, the Ministry of Environment said last week.

The Ministry of Environment expects to receive 5.15 trillion won ($4.4 billion) for 2012.

“The annual budget topping 5 trillion won is very meaningful for the ministry,” Jeong Youn-man, the ministry’s head of planning and coordination department, said in a press conference. It represents the focus of the Korean government on environmental values amid a national campaign to achieve low-carbon, green growth, the official said.

Next year’s budget is 7.8 percent more than this year, although it has yet to pass the National Assembly. If approved, the budget will be 46 percent higher than in 2008, the first year of the President Lee Myung-bak government, when the budget was 3.55 trillion won.

“The increased budget will allow us to invest more in clean water and green growth projects,” he said.

More than half of the budget will be spent on improving water quality, in particular, the treatment of sewage and livestock wastewater.

About 345 billion won will be allotted to the construction of treatment facilities for wastewater flowing out of local industrial complexes. The amount is 57 percent more than the level spent last year.

Another 144.6 billion won will be used to restore ecosystems of provincial streams whose combined length reaches 980 kilometers, while 50.9 billion won will be spent on the reduction of pollutants.

The Environment Ministry also plans to step up its campaign for electric cars with the increased budget.

Next year, it will spend 62 billion won in subsidizing electric cars for governmental agencies and provincial governments and the construction of charging stations. Officials hope to see at least 2,500 new electric vehicles on the road next year.

The government seeks to replace 10 percent of fossil-fuel powered compact cars with electric vehicles by 2015.

On climate change, the ministry plans to commit 251 billion won to research and development of climate-related technologies, while spending 2.5 billion won for the planned launch of a multi-purpose satellite which will be used for weather forecasting, climate change detection, atmospheric research and marine observation.

The ministry also plans to spend another 158 billion won on the management of national parks, wetlands and other ecological parks.

By Lee Sun-young (