From my experiences, there are not a lot of Asian countries that take care of their environment. I know that has a lot to do with social-economic situations of every Asian country. A rich nation though doesn’t guarantee a green environment however. Case in point China.
South Korea’s got cash too. And they’re doing right by making their cities as clean, green and friendly.
Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon Stream is a prime example. It’s a long river that cuts through most parts of central Seoul, connected the Han River. Before 2005 Cheonggyecheon Stream was covered up with a highway overpass and after that for around 50 years the stream ran dry.
So the government pumped $900 million bucks to bring the stream back to life and it was a colossal urban renewal project. Water had to be pumped back into the stream and since the highway was removed traffic had to be directed elsewhere. With that huge dollar amount you can bet there were a lot of complaints. So was it worth it?
From this traveler’s opinion. Yes. I have no clue if there are anymore complaints from the locals but I am sure that millions of South Koreans and tourists from around the world are enjoying Cheonggyecheon Stream. It’s a great place to chill out. If I had a job in Seoul near the stream I would certainly eat lunch there every afternoon with my shoes off and feet dangling in the cool, crisp clean water. It’s a great area to jog around too and I know South Koreans love to keep fit. Plus festivals are held by the stream which many Koreans go to experience and enjoy with families.
And the cool running water cutting across the city helps keep the temperature down when the weather gets hot. It’s environmental friendly and pleasing to the eye.
Cheonggyecheon Stream is 6km long, about 4 miles which is long. I’ve never tried walking the entire extent but I will be in Seoul on in July for another 13 hour layover. Now I’m deciding if I should try to walk the entire length of the stream or try and visit 5 major palaces in Seoul instead. So much to do in Seoul. So little time. God I love this city! I mean even the name of the city sounds so cool!
But since July is supposedly a hot and rainy month I’m just going to have to play it by ear. Until then, I can’t wait. I do love Seoul and can’t say it enough.