Republic of Korea

As a COBSEA participating country, the Republic of Korea is a knowledge partner for SEA circular. The Republic of Korea has developed policies, initiatives, coordinated processes, scientific data and research which SEA circular will utilize to advance regional action and knowledge exchange.

Causes and challenges

South Korea is one of the world’s biggest plastic consumers. Municipal solid waste management is a challenge, with the Ministry of Environment claiming that there are 1.2 million tons of illegally abandoned waste across South Korea. As a consequence, marine litter has become a serious environmental, economic and social problem.  The fishery industry has been particularly effected.

Korea aims to deal with waste produced in the country through recycling, processing into fuel, or incineration. However, due to tightened regulations on waste-to-energy plants and waste incineration facilities, the number of incineration facilities has fallen significantly. Excess waste is frequently exported and can end up polluting neighbouring countries in South-East Asia.

Ways Forward

Since the late 1990’s, the South Korean government has initiated research and development of integrated management strategies and guidelines to prevent marine litter at the national level. This includes a survey of ports and other coastal regions of Korea and activities for marine litter clean-up.

Initiatives are underway for the prevention of plastic litter entering the coastal environments especially from the land-based sources.  Other advances are underway to promote a more circular economy. 

Download SEA circular Country Profile for South Korea for more information

News

Plastic use rising in SEA due to COVID-19

13 April 2020

13 April 2020, Bangkok, Thailand: Single-use plastic bags are making a comeback as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. After their use was restricted at the start of the year, plastic bags can once again be seen littering the st

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Supermarkets in Ho Chi Minh City to be free of plastic bags by the end of this year

3 April 2020

3 April 2020, HCMC, Viet Nam: All supermarkets, trade centres, convenience stories, and bookstores in Ho Chi Minh City are striving to replace plastic bags with environmentally friendly options by the end of this year. This move i

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#CleanSeas #StayHome challenge

2 April 2020

4 May 2020: Children worldwide are out of school and learning from home, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. It can be difficult to occupy your children with exciting activities for hours on end, especially when you may also

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Events

South-East Asia marine litter and plastic circular economy initiatives coordination workshop

9 March 2020

This series of workshops aims to coordinate relevant projects in SEA on marine litter and plastics circular economy, synergize activities and avoid overlaps.

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