"When will the Baebong Pond be cleaned up" Is it true that if you fall in the pond you will be attacked by 108 kinds of diseases?” The pond is located behind the UOS Liberal Arts Building. Whoever looks inside the pond, is surprised at it. It has been left in a super-nutrition condition, like doves at our school. Recently the pond was cleaned and it was the first time after it had been made. Park Kyung-book, a graduate student at the UOS and the president of E&M (Environ-ment and Mankind) did this. According to him, before cleaning it up, the pond’s condition was over nutritious and its water was in saturation. After the cleaning, they found all kinds of trash such as cellular phones, cassette players, clothes and watches. About 160kg of trash and a nine-ton mud was removed. A small amount of mud is good for the pond, but too much mud can accelerate pollution. Our campus has been suffering from pollutionsilently.
This is the actual environ-mental condition of our campus. When we talk about our campus environment, we should think about garbage we are producing. For recycling, there are several trash baskets-one for paper, another for cans, a third for bottles and a forth for other types of trash in every building. But you may find that a trash basket for cans is stuffed with other kinds of trash. The basket for soda cans only has paper, bottles and food garbage. School authorities have given up on recycling at UOS. Cleaners should gather trash from each basket and separate them again in the dumping ground. Some cleaners have even removed trash baskets except for one because they thought many baskets were not needed. Trash disposal costs 70 million won a year without payment for cleaners (1999). It is not expensive to dispose of food garbage since recycling it is relatively easy. But its amount is steadily increasing. The important thing to cut down garbage is a mental switchover, which is very difficult. School authorities consider that there is no way, but students will have to change their ways. Students do not have a critical mind about garbage amounts since they do not pay directly for garbage disposal.
What are we doing now? As mentioned above, our campus environment is not sound. Even though we seemingly have good environ-mental conditions, it actually needs a lot of money and effort to recover from the present polluted environment. The essentials of environmental recovery are that it will be too late to recover after the environment has been damaged. We have to protect it before it is destroyed. What should our school members do for our environment now? Look into our life. There is a lot of work we have to do and we can do it. Cutting down on garbage, using paper on both sides, recycling and reducing thrown -away trash. But most activities are not practiced. Even some environmentalists use paper cups inadvertently and drive their own cars. It is usual things to waste water, electricity and paper. We even use shampoo, a pollutant containing synthetic detergents. That is not all. You leave food after lunch, throw away cigarette butts anywhere and put paper cups you are kicking around into the pond or on the lawn. You also use only new paper because using both sides happen to jam when you are printing or photocopying. Sometimes you throw a can in a box for recycling, and then you think ‘I helped the earth. That`s enough.’ School authorities are quite unconcerned about the environ-ment. There is no plan to conserve our campus environment. Environmental concerns are not beyond development projects. They only have worried about solution to space problems by building new buildings. They are just concentrated on or absorbed in using the campus more efficiently. It seems to be far from being pro-environmental for them. The GSC (General Student Council) is not different. They do not put their efforts into the campus environment. They do not ask for any environmental plan from school authorities. They only ask to install more temporary benefits. The GSC is able to play an important and powerful role. They can bring up controversial subjects that school authorities do not fully realize regarding environmental matters. They can also encourage students with environmental thoughts and acts. But they have kept silent about the campus environment. They do not perform their role to connect school authorities and students.
What should we do? Lee Kyung-jae, a professor of Dept. of Landscape Architecture, says, "Do we really think about our environment?” “Have we given ourselves any concern for environment by recycling and discussing the environment once?” Do you just talk about our environment without any obligation? Or perhaps you don`t even do that. Let’s talk about our environment. Ask school authorities and the GSC to let us possess a better environment. Of course, before doing this, we have to do what we can do under the present conditions. Recycling, cutting down on garbage, reusing and so on. The government has been criticized for adopting policies only after problems emerge. So has our school. It is very difficult to recover the destroyed environment. Everyone knows this, but ignores it. Our campus is exposed to danger. Each member of our school, school authorities and the GSC must do something to help enhance our campus environment. If they do not, our campus will die. Probably our campus is dying now. Tomorrow will be too late.