Grim New Year’s Prospects for Taean

ALMOST EXACTLY TWO MONTHS after a devastating oil spill blackened South Korea’s western coast, the city of Taean is struggling amid tanking tourism and fishing industries. The emergency subsidies its citizens were promised have either been insufficient or never arrived, reports The Korea Times. The cleanup crews have left, and national attention has been diverted towards massive governmental changes being made by president-elect Lee Myung-bak. As Lunar New Year approaches – a usually bustling season for restaurants, fisherman and other business in Taean – the city is quiet.

The situation is, sadly, unsurprising. As prosecutors build cases against the owners of the vessels involved in the spill, the South Korean government shirks its responsibilities – neglecting the well-being of its people, and blithely paving the way for tragedies of this nature to occur again. This is reactionary policy at its best, and a sterling example of the national government’s historic lack of foresight.

Photo: daecheon beach on the west coast of korea, by Paul Lawley-Jones. 2006.

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