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Communications on Mar. 16, 2001

2009.08.24 10:50

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◎ Religious, Civil and Environmental Groups Join Voice Against Saemangum Reclamation Project

On March 14th, about 500 representatives from all religious circles including priests, nuns and monks held a prayer service at Chogye-sa Temple in central Seoul to call for a halt to the Saemangum reclamation project on the western coast in Gunsan, Jeollabuk-do and marched toward Myongdong Cathedral.
They claimed the project will destroy the ecosystem of the west coast.
Recently, the government has made a final decision on the Saemangum reclamation project, which is one of the most controversial environment issues for the past several years in Korea.
Initiated in 1991, the project aims at turning 40,100 hectares of mud flats in the Saemangum region of Jeollabuk-do into 28,300 hectares of farmland as well as using freshwater lake for irrigation purposes. The plan needs a 33-km seawall to be built to seal off the mouths of the two rivers - the Mangyeong and the Dongjin River - that run through the Saemangum area.
Since then, environmentalists have continued to call for the suspension of the project, claiming it will bring out the destruction of environment in that region.
"Even though related government ministries, such as the Maritime-Fisheries Ministry and the Environment Ministry, have expressed the negative opinions on the success of the project, the ruling party, as well as the Prime Minister's office and the Jellabuk-do provincial government, are trying to go ahead with the plan, only considering political calculations and regional interests.'' they claimed.
On March 14, the civil (coalition of over 200 civil groups), environmental and religious groups have declared an all-out struggle against the Saemangum project, and from the 19th, civil representatives will hold sit-in protests as well as hunger strikes.
Meanwhile, the new Environment Ministry takes it seriously that it will be difficult to maintain the water of the Mangyeong River area in unpolluted condition by saying that the region's water quality may deteriorate once the project is complete in 2011.
Dr. Lester Brown, the head of Worldwatch Institute, a research body analyzing the global environmental issues, while visiting Korea last November, said, "The project has been based on a set of very narrow economic calculations. If the wetlands are destroyed, the negative effects will be greater than the positive ones on fishermen, migratory birds and all sea life."



◎ First Middle School Religion Textbook to be Published

The religion textbook which is planed to be used in the middle school curriculum will be published officially for the first time in Korea by the end of this March and will be distributed in the 28 Catholic middle schools all over the country.
With the 7th revision of education course, the Ministry of Education adopted the religious education as the official subject. The 144-page religion textbook that was edited by the Catholic Educational Foundations' Association focuses on the image of human beings with religious disposition, broad comprehension of each religion in the world, the existence of God and further more the role and mission of the Church etc.
Many prominent Catholic educators including Prof. Park Il-young of the Seoul Catholic University, Lee Chang-jo, principal of Chong-yang High School, Br. An Byong-cho from Marist Teaching Brothers and the vice-president of the Catholic Educational Foundations' Association participated in the edition of the text book.
"I expect this new textbook will be helpful for middle school teachers to teach the students religion. They had difficulties to teach religion to the students because there was no common textbook. We will keep developing the textbook further to make it a better quality book." Br. An said.


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