Safety, environment concerns rise as political banners flood Korea’s streets

2023.04.17 09:45:02 | 2023.04.17 13:25:03

[Photo by Han Joo-hyung]이미지 확대

[Photo by Han Joo-hyung]



An annual average of 1.25 million banners, or placards in South Korea, have been installed on street poles and guardrails over the past five years from 2017, raising concerns about visual and environmental issues.

According to documents obtained by Representative Park Dae-soo of the ruling People Power Party from the Ministry of Environment on Sunday, a total of 13,985 tons of street banners for election campaigns have been installed and removed on Korean streets from 2018 and 2022 when five elections were held.

Used banners that are made to promote election campaigns are deployed for about two weeks before they are thrown away. About 60 percent of the used election banners were burnt over the past five years without being reused, resulting in the emissions of greenhouse gases and dioxin, a class one cancer-causing agent.

“We should think about enhancing rules on banner installments for the safety of the people,” Representative Park said.

There are more used banners when adding those for commercial use.

According to documents submitted by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security to the National Assembly in March, a total of 6.3 million banners have been installed between 2017 and 2021, which translates to 1.25 million street banners a year on average.

Most of them are political banners as they increased in number after the country’s outdoor advertisement act was revised and enforced in December last year.

Under the revised bill, political parties can install banners related to political issues anywhere on the streets without prior approval or registration. Political banners in the past were only allowed after approval by the regional government but the ruling and opposition parties joined efforts to lift the requirement.

The flood of banners on streets in Korea is raising safety and environment concerns and resulting in complaints that they obstruct traffic and store operations. More banners are expected to be installed ahead of the general elections next year.

Criticisms grow as the political circle produces a large volume of used banners when others like businesses and citizens put out efforts to achieve carbon neutrality. There are calls that lawmakers should revise the outdoor advertisement act before the general elections next year and avoid too many political banners from being installed on streets.

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]