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Author Topic: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?  (Read 13654 times)

Offline Horus

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Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« on: September 14, 2011, 03:54:15 PM »
Trash everywhere, piles of garbage bags everywhere one looks, the stench of rotting garbage, the sternch of the sewers, pollution, piles of vomit, pools of spit, car exhaust (are there no pollution regulations for vehicles at all). I just don't understand how the city can be so filthy - and why it's not a major political issue. The mayor of Seoul is being forced out over the 'school lunches' issue. I think if a mayor is forced out of office it should be because of a failure to address the issue of the city's filth. Shouldn't adequate garbage services and a first world sewer system rank at the very top of the city's agenda. Or do Koreans not see (and smell) the filth of the city?

Utterly filthy.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2011, 04:01:04 PM by Horus »

Offline kalamin

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2011, 04:13:55 PM »
If you don't throw your rubbish on the ground the people who get paid to pick it up would not have a job.
lol

i dont think seoul is all that dirty. some areas are cleaner than others. the dirtiest places have the highest amount of traffic (ppl walking) and the lack of trash cans imo doesnt help. but to me its not really dirty. i'v only been here for 4 weeks. and been in seoul and suwon. it's not bad...once i go to some other cities maybe then i can say

thread author . where are you from? where do you live?

Offline Cereal

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2011, 04:14:18 PM »
For a country that prides itself on being a technological first world marvel, and a people who are obsessed with nationalism to an insane level, I am also amazed and disgusted at the filth and foul stink that seems omnipresent here.
"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge."
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Offline tfuller

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2011, 04:17:15 PM »
Where are you from?
Have you seen rats on the street?

People make their own conclusions about why this isn't addressed. The system obviously works, doesn't it?

Offline DejaVu

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2011, 04:21:34 PM »
I have to walk to my nose pinched at times and people look at me like I'm crazy.  I think because they've been around it their whole lives, they don't realize how bad it is. 

Any friend of mine that has been here has commented on how disgusting this country can be.

Offline IslandGook

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2011, 04:21:35 PM »
In my town, it seemed like the garbage guys took a couple of days off for Chuseok.  After they resumed, it went back to just a little filthy, not totally filthy.

Offline Cereal

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2011, 04:25:43 PM »
Where are you from?
Have you seen rats on the street?

People make their own conclusions about why this isn't addressed. The system obviously works, doesn't it?

I live in a small town and I've seen rats. I've also seen puke and feces and every manner of trash one could think of, from candy bar wrappers to golf bags! I've also witnessed a cop who was stopped at a red light open a new pack of smokes and throw the cellophane wrapping out his window onto the street.
"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge."
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Offline teachermc

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2011, 04:28:16 PM »
Maybe it is a matter of distinctions?

I find that I like places to be clearly distinguished - bathrooms should smell like bathrooms, landfills should look like landfills...  Where I come from, city zoning itself keeps atmospheres fairly stable. 

Here, I think that making these distinctions is not important.  People do not seem to mind smelling fish in a coffee shop, or urine...everywhere.  And these smells are there for a reason - that bag beside that couple at the coffee shop is raw fish and people do enjoy finding new places to urinate publicly.  I digress.

If I am honest, on a moment-by-moment, short-term-feelings level, the clustering of visual and olfactory extremes here has single-highhandedly led to thoughts of leaving Korea on several occasions.

Offline yeti08

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2011, 04:31:17 PM »
Where are you from?
Have you seen rats on the street?

People make their own conclusions about why this isn't addressed. The system obviously works, doesn't it?

I live in a small town and I've seen rats. I've also seen puke and feces and every manner of trash one could think of, from candy bar wrappers to golf bags! I've also witnessed a cop who was stopped at a red light open a new pack of smokes and throw the cellophane wrapping out his window onto the street.

Yeah I've also seen rats, stray cats abound, roaches and other pestilence esque critters crawling about the trash piles here.  I've seen people little in front of cops and cops litter.  I've had to step over day old vomit on a weekly basis.  I had to re-route my walk to school because a certain eatery's food bags always seem to bust open and just rot on the sidewalk (bucket of water anyone?).  When it rains I smell sewage. 
I understand Korea got too big for it's britches too quickly, but when is too much, too much?

Offline DWAEDGIMORIGUKBAP

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2011, 04:33:45 PM »
Seoul really isn't terribly filthy.  Like every city in the world it DOES have it's dirty areas but if the OP has ever spent time in Gwangwhamun, Yeoido, Daechi-dong, Apgujeong and many other parts of the city I could mention - he'd realise he is simply fos and is judging the whole of a very large city based on the few limited parts of it he has seen.

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Offline rorio82

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2011, 04:44:20 PM »
Mmmmmm, I'm from NY, didn't find Seoul to be any different, in terms of suffering the affects of overcrowding.

Offline Jozigirl

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2011, 04:45:20 PM »
I don't think Seoul's any worse than many major cities around the world.  Sure, there are parts of it that are bad but, in general, I find Seoul to be fairly clean considering the quantity of people living there and travelling through it daily. 

Offline Horus

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2011, 04:59:11 PM »
Yeah, there are a few nice areas of Seoul, but every city (including third world cities) have their nice areas. But for a country with pretences of being first world, Seoul is just dreadful. There is, for example, no equivalent in Canada. I enjoy cycling. Back home it's a pleasure, but in Korea I'm inhaling pollution, exhaust fumes, and getting lungful after lungful of foul smells. It's when the rotting garbage mixes with the stench of the sewers that I feel I need to stop peddling just in case I need to throw up. And visually it's an eyesore. It would be nice to have pleasant things to look at as I cycle along, but there's nothing but ugly buildings and trees surrounded with bags of rotting garbage. Korea really needs to look at itself through the eyes of Westerners and rearrange its priorities.

And don't get me started on ther noise pollution problem in Korea. As I'm typing this, the dude across the road is standing outside his shop screaming into a microphone. Sigh.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2011, 05:04:13 PM by Horus »

Offline yeti08

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2011, 05:07:49 PM »
Yeah, there are a few nice areas of Seoul, but every city (including third world cities) have their nice areas. But for a country with pretences of being first world, Seoul is just dreadful. There is, for example, no equivalent in Canada. I enjoy cycling. Back home it's a pleasure, but in Korea I'm inhaling pollution, exhaust fumes, and getting lungful after lungful of foul smells. It's when the rotting garbage mixes with the stench of the sewers that I feel I need to stop peddling just in case I need to throw up. And visually it's an eyesore. It would be nice to have pleasant things to look at as I cycle along, but there's nothing but ugly buildings and trees surrounded with bags of rotting garbage. Korea really needs to look at itself through the eyes of Westerners and rearrange its priorities.

And don't get me started on ther noise pollution problem in Korea. As I'm typing this, the dude across the road is standing outside his shop screaming into a microphone. Sigh.

You're going to catch a lot of flack for the "eyes of Westerners" comment.  Although not from me.

The noise pollution is something I cannot wait to escape. 

Offline DWAEDGIMORIGUKBAP

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2011, 05:08:39 PM »
I agree on the noise pollution.

As to the rest of your arguement (based on having visited / lived in over 30 major cities in 12 countries in N.America, Asia and Europe)

Quote
Yeah, there are a few nice areas of (insert major city name here and wherever another blank spce appears)__________, but every city (including third world cities) have their nice areas. But for a country with pretences of being first world, __________ is just dreadful. There is, for example, no equivalent in _____________.

OP's view is just so limited and narrow it makes me giggle.  Methinks he is also not taking much account for the fact that only 23% of the Korean landmass is farmable / inhabitable and the rest is mountains.  When you take that into account and then realise their capital city is for example on par in hygeine aspects with London for example, one sees they are doing pretty good in fact ;)
If you think you can or can't do a thing - you are probably right.

Support bacteria - they're the only culture some people have.

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Offline yeti08

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2011, 05:15:54 PM »
OP - It will get better in the winter though.  The heat and humidity multiply the food trash rotting.  This is one of a hundred reasons I like winter here more than summer.

Offline Horus

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2011, 05:23:31 PM »
Let's take the example of automobile exhaust fumes. I find it astonishing how much choking pollution comes out of a single vehicle in Korea. In Canada if I walk behind a car (to cross a road, fo example) I don't smell a thing. Cars can be backed up right down the street, but you don't get assaulted by a hint of vehicular pollution. Now try walking behind a single car in Korea. The sheer volume of pollution eminating from just that one car would knock over a horse. And there's millions of cars in Korea belching out these fumes. Are there no pollution controls on motor vehicles here whatsoever? Why is this not an issue at election time? Why is this not a scandal?
« Last Edit: September 14, 2011, 05:31:52 PM by Horus »

Offline kimchikiwi

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2011, 05:34:06 PM »
Mmmmmm, I'm from NY, didn't find Seoul to be any different, in terms of suffering the affects of overcrowding.

I agree in that it reminds me of New York. Well put.

Offline rorio82

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2011, 05:45:52 PM »
Mmmmmm, I'm from NY, didn't find Seoul to be any different, in terms of suffering the affects of overcrowding.

I agree in that it reminds me of New York. Well put.


what part of NY are you from?

Offline jaysoon17

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2011, 05:48:17 PM »
Yeah, there are a few nice areas of Seoul, but every city (including third world cities) have their nice areas. But for a country with pretences of being first world, Seoul is just dreadful. There is, for example, no equivalent in Canada. I enjoy cycling. Back home it's a pleasure, but in Korea I'm inhaling pollution, exhaust fumes, and getting lungful after lungful of foul smells. It's when the rotting garbage mixes with the stench of the sewers that I feel I need to stop peddling just in case I need to throw up. And visually it's an eyesore. It would be nice to have pleasant things to look at as I cycle along, but there's nothing but ugly buildings and trees surrounded with bags of rotting garbage. Korea really needs to look at itself through the eyes of Westerners and rearrange its priorities.

And don't get me started on ther noise pollution problem in Korea. As I'm typing this, the dude across the road is standing outside his shop screaming into a microphone. Sigh.

I agree with you about the noise pollution. I was looking at some of the houses located near the bars in Hongdae, and I was trying to imagine how one can actually sleep there. I live down the street (about 75 meters) from the strip in my town, and there are fights that end up in my street in the middle of the night.

As for biking, are you biking on city streets? Where abouts? Have you used the completely dedicated bike roads in Seoul that extend out to Gyeonggido? There must be at least 50 miles of completely dedicated bike roads along the river and creeks in Seoul. There is nothing like that offered in San Francisco or in my hometown in California. The roads also extend out towards Anyang, Ilsan, and they will complete a bike road that extends 35 miles east of Seoul towards Yangpyeong. I find the biking great compared to other cities I've lived in (I lived in 3 different countries). It does stink when biking along some areas near the water in Seoul though.


 

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