[The Hwankyung Ilbo] The Ministry of Environment hosted a forum to discuss and look for solutions to local environmental issues in Ulsan on February 21.
The Ministry set up the forum to draw up measures to resolve environmental issues through public-private cooperation, since it considers that there is a limit to the solving of problems only by the management of guidance and crackdown.
Ulsan Nam-gu, which is an area located in the southern part of the city where petrochemical industries are concentrated, showed high concentration of benzene from 2012 to 2016 that significantly exceeded the standard of below 5㎍/㎥.
However, the government focused on public-private cooperation and initiated measures to reduce benzene emissions by encouraging benzene emissions companies to improve facilities, resulting in the average annual benzene concentration (4.25㎍/㎥) in 2017, which is 53% lower than that of the previous year.
During the forum, local environmental officers from Ulsan Metropolitan City, Chungcheongnam-do and Jeollanam-do, where petrochemical industries releasing high benzene concentration are located, discussed with environmental experts and industry workers how to solve local environmental problems by spreading and applying best practices in Ulsan.
The Ministry of Environment plans to gather opinions from various stakeholders such as civic groups on the basis of various policy measures derived from the debate on this day and draw up measures to solve environmental problems in areas where air pollution is serious.
Kim Eun-kyung, Minister of Environment, said, "Resolving regional environmental issues through public-private partnership is a goal to pursuit. We plan to build a sustainable environmental management model that will strengthen communication and cooperation with local governments and companies in the future."
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