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Author Topic: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?  (Read 13477 times)

Offline davidcfs

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #60 on: September 15, 2011, 04:32:00 PM »
Living in Toronto (downtown) most of my life, I can say that I didn't find Seoul utterly filthy. I rather enjoyed my time there and thought their subway system, in terms of cleanliness and efficiency, kicked the crap out of the Toronto's transit system. What is the deal with foreigners coming to Korea and bitching about things that they don't truly understand? Most of our cultures and upbringings are far, far different than someone living in Korea, so why are we comparing? In my time here I've noticed things Koreans do better than Canadians and things they do worse. It is the give and take which occurs when you move to the other side of the world.

Do some research before you move to another country and get off your soapbox.

Offline DWAEDGIMORIGUKBAP

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #61 on: September 15, 2011, 04:39:00 PM »
Quote
Funny, I thought it was filthy because people are paid to throw pamphlets for hookers, Chicken restaurants, Taekwondo lessons, and Hof bars all over the place.


No different from the hooker cards all over the street and public phone booths in London and there are as many fag butts too.  I remember after uni when I moved there I told a friend 'The streets of London paved with gold?  Paved with hooker cards and cigarette butts is more like it.'

The OP is simply trolling I can honestly say out of all the major cities I've lived in or spent time in including

London, Tokyo, Osaka, Portland OR, Lisbon, Granada, Amsterdam, Madrid, Valencia, Bangkok, Beijing, Dublin, Cork, Calais, and several others - none of them make Seoul look like it is a third world slum as the OP claims.

Yeah hbc and itaewon and a few other districts are bad but for those you have Soho, Chinatown, the Barrios, Eastside, ALL of Bangkok, Rappongi etc....

The truth is that the op is trolling and rather than his claim that 95% is comprable to third world slums, the reality is it's more like 5 percent and the comparison starts and ends with litter, not crack whores, smack babies, used needles, condoms etc....

I'm not feeding this monster anymore, he's been fattened up enough.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2011, 05:09:27 PM by DWAEDGIMORIGUKBAP »
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Offline Cereal

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #62 on: September 15, 2011, 04:39:16 PM »
The difference between korea filthy and say america filthy is that in korea what you might call filthy
is mostly a product of work...ie. farmers, factories, tools, waste from production etc.

Funny, I thought it was filthy because people are paid to throw pamphlets for hookers, Chicken restaurants, Taekwondo lessons, and Hof bars all over the place.

The "litter taboo" that exists in the US doesn't exist here.  But that taboo took decades to build in the US.  There was an unrelenting campaign in the 70's and 80's to portray people who litter as trashing the country (which they were, if you looked at any highway during that period).  Of course there is still litter in the US, but the mentality is definitely different.  Throw something on the ground in the US and you *will* get dirty looks.....some people might even pick it up and "politely" give it back to you.  I'd like to see that attitude come to Korea.  It needs to start with the kids and education through school.

This is very interesting and also very true. I remember studying about the "Don't Mess With Texas" anti-litter campaign that started in 1985 and has proven to be very successful. I started my own similar program in the little village in Laos where I live. The folks there are poor, too poor to pay for garbage pickup which costs less than $2.00 a month.

With the support of my wife and the village chief as well as influential elders I have started a "Don't Litter Laos" campaign by educating the people about recycling and composting. I also put my money where my mouth is and bought all the neighbours large garbage buckets and bags for things that can't be composted or recycled; I pay for the monthly pickup.

It's only a small thing to be sure, but our area is cleaning up.

It's all about education and influential support. I also use the psychology of a little bit of guilt. When I see a student here throw some trash on the ground, I ask them how they would feel if they saw a Japanese visitor do the same! In Laos it's the Thai  :laugh:
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Offline Gyroid

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Smell really helps or hurts a city.
« Reply #63 on: September 15, 2011, 04:41:24 PM »
I know that this may come as a surprise to some, but smell is a huge factor here.
Seoul may not be very dirty, but it does have a smell.
Think about the last time you entered into someones house and it looked fine, but something didn't smell right.
Could have been a clogged toilet, could have been recently eaten/cooked salmon, or it could be as simple as some egg salad for a picnic that didn't smell "right."
Even if those people keep a very clean house the smell will override your memory and make you think the place is dirty. (especially with regards to smells that resemble feces)

Not to say NYC is the best smelling place, but it didn't smell like feces any time that I could remember when I lived there.

Offline SUTIIVE

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #64 on: September 15, 2011, 04:42:31 PM »
Seoul is filthy, and ranks extremely low on the international ranking of 'livable' cities.

http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2011/09/01/2011090100489.html

A pretty definitive comeback, although I guess "environment" is a pretty broad term.  Why does London get such a hard time?!  I am from the UK, haven't lived there in 10 years, have lived in 4 other countries since and thought it was amazing!  My mates there have a fantastic, if not slightly expensive, life! Anyway...don't answer that or I'll get in trouble for going off topic lol. 
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Offline justanotherwaygook

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Re: Smell really helps or hurts a city.
« Reply #65 on: September 15, 2011, 04:44:52 PM »
I know that this may come as a surprise to some, but smell is a huge factor here.
Seoul may not be very dirty, but it does have a smell.
Think about the last time you entered into someones house and it looked fine, but something didn't smell right.
Could have been a clogged toilet, could have been recently eaten/cooked salmon, or it could be as simple as some egg salad for a picnic that didn't smell "right."
Even if those people keep a very clean house the smell will override your memory and make you think the place is dirty. (especially with regards to smells that resemble feces)

Not to say NYC is the best smelling place, but it didn't smell like feces any time that I could remember when I lived there.

I've smelled festering garbage on more than one occasion in NY.
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Offline profmiscreant

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #66 on: September 15, 2011, 04:51:50 PM »
A note about the definite lack of trash cans....which obviously contributes to the random trash piles everywhere:

I asked my ex about it once and he told me that there was a time when Korea had public trash cans aplenty... Then they implemented the garabage taxation system currently in place (you buy the plastic bag for your 'hood and therefore are only paying a tax on the garbage  you are throwing out). Instead, people wern't buying the bags and using the public ones for all their business. Since people couldn't be trusted to not cheat the system, they took away the garbage bins altogether.

Offline Gyroid

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Re: Smell really helps or hurts a city.
« Reply #67 on: September 15, 2011, 05:00:39 PM »
I know that this may come as a surprise to some, but smell is a huge factor here.
Seoul may not be very dirty, but it does have a smell.
Think about the last time you entered into someones house and it looked fine, but something didn't smell right.
Could have been a clogged toilet, could have been recently eaten/cooked salmon, or it could be as simple as some egg salad for a picnic that didn't smell "right."
Even if those people keep a very clean house the smell will override your memory and make you think the place is dirty. (especially with regards to smells that resemble feces)

Not to say NYC is the best smelling place, but it didn't smell like feces any time that I could remember when I lived there.

I've smelled festering garbage on more than one occasion in NY.

True, that's why I was trying to politely say that NYC smells too, just a different smell.

Offline jjminor

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #68 on: September 15, 2011, 05:06:10 PM »
I grew up in Portland, Oregon. Attended university in New Orleans. Both of those cities weren't the cleanest cities by any means of the imagination. Portland did have a growing concern about the environment, and was working on recycling, and trying to stop littering.

Coming to Seoul 7 years ago, I made some good foreign friends. For some reason they didn't share my hate of littering. They would litter without a second thought. Go figure.

My wife, Korean, and I have confronted students who have littered. My wife does it on her own. She is not "westernized" by any means. She is just a normal middle-aged Korean woman who speaks very little English. She hates litter, and I assume there are a lot of other Koreans who hate it just like she does.


Offline DejaVu

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #69 on: September 15, 2011, 06:23:43 PM »
Quote
Funny, I thought it was filthy because people are paid to throw pamphlets for hookers, Chicken restaurants, Taekwondo lessons, and Hof bars all over the place.


No different from the hooker cards all over the street and public phone booths in London and there are as many fag butts too.  I remember after uni when I moved there I told a friend 'The streets of London paved with gold?  Paved with hooker cards and cigarette butts is more like it.'

The OP is simply trolling I can honestly say out of all the major cities I've lived in or spent time in including

London, Tokyo, Osaka, Portland OR, Lisbon, Granada, Amsterdam, Madrid, Valencia, Bangkok, Beijing, Dublin, Cork, Calais, and several others - none of them make Seoul look like it is a third world slum as the OP claims.

Yeah hbc and itaewon and a few other districts are bad but for those you have Soho, Chinatown, the Barrios, Eastside, ALL of Bangkok, Rappongi etc....

The truth is that the op is trolling and rather than his claim that 95% is comprable to third world slums, the reality is it's more like 5 percent and the comparison starts and ends with litter, not crack whores, smack babies, used needles, condoms etc....

I'm not feeding this monster anymore, he's been fattened up enough.

I fear you're being a bit blind in your defensive stance. I know some of those cities to be FAR cleaner than the majority of Seoul.

Online orangeman

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #70 on: September 15, 2011, 06:40:44 PM »
Quote
Funny, I thought it was filthy because people are paid to throw pamphlets for hookers, Chicken restaurants, Taekwondo lessons, and Hof bars all over the place.


No different from the hooker cards all over the street and public phone booths in London and there are as many fag butts too.  I remember after uni when I moved there I told a friend 'The streets of London paved with gold?  Paved with hooker cards and cigarette butts is more like it.'

The OP is simply trolling I can honestly say out of all the major cities I've lived in or spent time in including

London, Tokyo, Osaka, Portland OR, Lisbon, Granada, Amsterdam, Madrid, Valencia, Bangkok, Beijing, Dublin, Cork, Calais, and several others - none of them make Seoul look like it is a third world slum as the OP claims.

Yeah hbc and itaewon and a few other districts are bad but for those you have Soho, Chinatown, the Barrios, Eastside, ALL of Bangkok, Rappongi etc....

The truth is that the op is trolling and rather than his claim that 95% is comprable to third world slums, the reality is it's more like 5 percent and the comparison starts and ends with litter, not crack whores, smack babies, used needles, condoms etc....

I'm not feeding this monster anymore, he's been fattened up enough.

I fear you're being a bit blind in your defensive stance. I know some of those cities to be FAR cleaner than the majority of Seoul.

I was going to write the same thing.  I have lived in and travelled through Western Europe extensively and there is no way it's dirtier than Seoul.  I'm not saying this place is the filthy pit the OP describes, but there is no comparison.  Yes, if you took the dirtiest area of Rome or Paris and put it up against Daechi-dong I guess you'd get the result you seek.  But in general...no.  And yes, Amsterdam can reek on account of the canals, but then at least you have canals!  And it's ridiculous to take Vancouver's East Downtown, known for the junkies, and compare it to the whole city of Seoul.  And I mean, at least you have heroin!   8)

Also just wanted to point out to the other poster who said they drive just as bad in Montreal.  Even though I know that's the joke, it's simply untrue.  I went back to Montreal this past year and it was a breeze.  Just consider they don't drive on the sidewalks there.  Done, discussion over.  I win.  Nevermind the 100 other things. 

Offline DWAEDGIMORIGUKBAP

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #71 on: September 15, 2011, 06:57:57 PM »
I can't believe you have seen those cities - and I mean THE WHOLE of those cities - if you believe that.  I could show you godawful parts of any of them including much vaunted Tokyo or Osaka and especially my own country's capital of London or Paris.

Rome, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha  Go outside the tourist attractions.

What's that Naples I hear you cry?  - http://www.italymag.co.uk/sites/mainfiles/naplestrash.jpg

London, by no means anuncommon sight - (Agian I've actaully lived there)

http://www.ifimages.com/photos/ccgw3lwHQ2cXHMJl672EQglJVA/author-780/Litter-London-England.jpg

We all know I'm no apologist and we all know I could post images from SOME PARTS of every major city in the world with trash etc.

The truth is the majority of Seoul is not like the OP describes, it really isn't, I've lived and worked there for many years and been all over.  It just isn't unless we are living in alternatie universes or something.

And here I go feeding the trolls again, when will I learn....
« Last Edit: September 15, 2011, 08:07:07 PM by DWAEDGIMORIGUKBAP »
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Offline jimmyeatworldwar

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #72 on: September 15, 2011, 07:10:15 PM »
Ok. the trolls here saying how dirty Seoul is, and how clean their city of origin is, is just to me seem like pure trolling at its best. I was born in Edinburgh and raised in Glasgow. and its just real dirty there likewise.
I think trolls here tend to think Seoul is dirtier because of the mundane high rise buildings. and because of the kimchi (no offense to the kimchi).
I've also been to Vancouver and Ottawa a while back, and I'm sorry to the Canadians, but I don't think it is cleaner relative to the population/area ratio compared to Seoul.
Please visit to any well known European cities. There will be lots of u guys who will be surprised on how messy and smelly the streets are.
Like the others sayin', I'm gonna stop feeding the know-it all trolls lol


Offline Yu_Bumsuk

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #73 on: September 15, 2011, 08:41:28 PM »
I've also been to Vancouver

You should go there during the garbage strike. They have one every 5 or so years.

Offline Seoulian

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #74 on: September 15, 2011, 09:09:50 PM »
http://www.aboutmyplanet.com/environment/worlds-cleanest-cities/

Forbes did a survey on this. It's not science, but it's better than miscellaneous anecdotes. The only Asian city in the top 10 is in Japan. No surprise if you've been to Japan, that place does make Korea look dirty.

Canada had 4 in the top 10 and 5 in the top 25. Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa and Calgary were in the top 10. Aside from Vancouver, all of these cities have nice rivers, green space and the industrial areas and airports are clearly separate from the cities.

Some more links:

http://www.rediff.com/business/slide-show/slide-show-1-worlds-10-cleanest-cities/20110325.htm
http://www.forbes.com/2007/04/16/worlds-cleanest-cities-biz-logistics-cx_rm_0416cleanest.html

I seriously still can't believe people walk around Seoul and think "this is clean". Have you looked in the Han River? Seoul is better to compare to other NE asian cities, such as in Japan, China and Hong Kong. It's much cleaner than Bangcock and the rest of what I have seen in SE asia. Not a slum, but not a nice area. I think rich Koreans live in Ilsan, Yongin and Bundang for a reason; pollution being one of them.

Offline justanotherwaygook

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #75 on: September 15, 2011, 09:12:21 PM »
I think rich Koreans live in Ilsan, Yongin and Bundang for a reason; pollution being one of them.

True.  I lived in Ilsan for 2 years.  It was very clean; the city employed lots of people to clean up the streets.
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Offline travelinpantsgirl

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Re: Smell really helps or hurts a city.
« Reply #76 on: September 15, 2011, 09:44:04 PM »
I know that this may come as a surprise to some, but smell is a huge factor here.
Seoul may not be very dirty, but it does have a smell.
Think about the last time you entered into someones house and it looked fine, but something didn't smell right.
Could have been a clogged toilet, could have been recently eaten/cooked salmon, or it could be as simple as some egg salad for a picnic that didn't smell "right."
Even if those people keep a very clean house the smell will override your memory and make you think the place is dirty. (especially with regards to smells that resemble feces)

Not to say NYC is the best smelling place, but it didn't smell like feces any time that I could remember when I lived there.

I am from outside NYC (20 mins) and I wonder if you've ridden the subway there? Or been downtown, (really downtown)? Except for uptown (ritzy uptown) (where all the really expensive brownstones are) the subways smell like urine and body odor from the homeless that attempt to sleep there (nowadays they get chased out). I know someone said they've seen rats here, but I've been here a little over a year and I have not, but I didn't even live on a daily basis in NYC and I saw one every time I went (sometimes twice in one visit). (that's not to say they don't exist here, but I am sure the ratio is much lower).
Honestly, Seoul is definitely not as bad as NYC. Also, NYC has a massive bed bug problem in a lot of their hotels and since the US has banned the chemical that would eradicate them for good, the problem continues. I've not laid my head to rest anywhere in Korea and worried if I would find creepy crawlers in my luggage after checking out.
As far as trash goes, Seoul really isn't any different from any developed city, particularly one that has grown faster than it can keep up. Seoul has really tried hard to create some green space after a lot of comments in the tourism industry stated that Seoul lacked anything to look at. They've created a lot of parks that didn't exist before, but it's still a city (as someone mentioned earlier) that holds 11 million + people. And They do teach children in school about littering and trash and recycling. I've seen it in the ethics and social studies (or something like that) book. Just my two cents.
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Offline DWAEDGIMORIGUKBAP

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #77 on: September 15, 2011, 10:29:01 PM »
Quote
I seriously still can't believe people walk around Seoul and think "this is clean". Have you looked in the Han River?

You haven't travelled much have ye?  Just admit it.

Have you looked in: the Thames; Hudson; Liffey; Sein etc...?
If you think you can or can't do a thing - you are probably right.

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Offline Davox

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Re: Why is Seoul so utterly filthy?
« Reply #78 on: September 16, 2011, 12:15:58 PM »

I was going to write the same thing.  I have lived in and travelled through Western Europe extensively and there is no way it's dirtier than Seoul.  I'm not saying this place is the filthy pit the OP describes, but there is no comparison.  Yes, if you took the dirtiest area of Rome or Paris and put it up against Daechi-dong I guess you'd get the result you seek.  But in general...no.  And yes, Amsterdam can reek on account of the canals, but then at least you have canals!  And it's ridiculous to take Vancouver's East Downtown, known for the junkies, and compare it to the whole city of Seoul.  And I mean, at least you have heroin!   8)

Also just wanted to point out to the other poster who said they drive just as bad in Montreal.  Even though I know that's the joke, it's simply untrue.  I went back to Montreal this past year and it was a breeze.  Just consider they don't drive on the sidewalks there.  Done, discussion over.  I win.  Nevermind the 100 other things.

I'm not saying Seoul is cleaner exactly than other places because that's pretty much impossible to objectively measure and compare.  Just that it's about as clean as other places of similar same size/density.  And that if you took a Canadian city and sized it up to the same size as Seoul, the Canadian city could easily be worse, based on the problems that we do have even in our tiny cities.  Which they are.  Tiny, I mean, in everything but land taken up.  And I have, by the way, seen Montreal drivers drive on the sidewalks.  And all sorts of other crazy stuff.  Not everyday, but it does happen.  Again, not saying it's visibly worse currently, just that if Montreal was the size of Seoul, it probably would be. 

In terms of the Han river argument: you're not going to convince me that the Han river is significantly worse than, say, the canal in Ottawa.  Pretty sure you're in for a hospital stay if you drink water from either one.

Offline konayuki

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Re: Smell really helps or hurts a city.
« Reply #79 on: September 16, 2011, 12:28:10 PM »

I am from outside NYC (20 mins) and I wonder if you've ridden the subway there? Or been downtown, (really downtown)? Except for uptown (ritzy uptown) (where all the really expensive brownstones are) the subways smell like urine and body odor from the homeless that attempt to sleep there (nowadays they get chased out). I know someone said they've seen rats here, but I've been here a little over a year and I have not, but I didn't even live on a daily basis in NYC and I saw one every time I went (sometimes twice in one visit). (that's not to say they don't exist here, but I am sure the ratio is much lower).


Oh God, the NYC subway smells awful, some more than others, and some are absolutely covered, completely drenched in filth.

I haven't seen rats in Seoul yet, but I've seen plenty of them back home, not only in the subway, but outside the subways' entrance as well (remembering seeing such a thing from my high school days...)

Not to mention that the way to my local bank back home is through a cross street that is permanently perfumed with pee.

To me Seoul and New York are more or less similar. Dirty in different ways, but not absolutely disgustingly filthy with absolutely no clean areas to escape to (with the exception of parts of the nyc subway). I live in a part of Seoul that isn't bright and sparkling, but if need be, I just hop to a place like Gwanghwamun and eat dinner outside.

This really is a bit silly.

 

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