Go to contents

[Focus] Shocking environmental index of Korea

Posted January. 28, 2001 18:41,   


It is a great shock that Korea ranked 95th in the Environmental Sustaining Index (ESI) announced at the 31st World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Saturday.

It was particularly surprising that Korea was so poorly evaluated that it placed among the lowest 22 percent of the 122 countries surveyed, even though it is among the highest ranked nations in terms of income level.

The WEF survey showed that the ESI of most countries corresponded to their income levels.

The 95th ranking does not necessarily mean that Korea¡¯s environmental level is 95th among the countries of the world. The 22 areas surveyed for ESI include social and political factors like general health conditions, standards of science and technology, contribution to international society and the level of democratization, besides elements of the physical environmental like air and water quality and number of species.

ESI is a concept newly introduced to evaluate quality of life from an environmental standpoint. Experts explain that ESI is a concept focused on the future rather than the present in that it is an objective standard by which specific countries can achieve growth without destroying or infringing upon the environment.

Korea¡¯s low score in the survey means that the possibility of environmental improvement is unclear.

What led Korea to record such a low score was not the current environmental standards, but its lack of efforts to reduce environmental contamination.

In terms of efforts to reduce air pollution, Korea recorded -2.48, far below the world average of -0.28. As for efforts to reduce water contamination, it scored -1.39, compared the world average of -0.06. In the field of efforts to prevent the destruction of the ecosystem, it received a score of -1.25, compared to the world average of 0.12.

In terms of participation in worldwide environmental funds, Korea recorded -1.17, far below the world average of 0.26.

The level of its science and technology was 1.20, higher than the world average of 0.08.

Park Jei-Gyoon phark@donga.com