Participants enjoy the “Boryeong Mud Festival” on the nation’s western coast in South Chungcheong, Sunday. The event, which opened Saturday, will continue until July 19. / Korea Times
By Kang Shin-who
Thousands of holidaymakers have been enjoying the Boryeong Mud Festival on the country’s western coast, shrugging off news that hundreds of children developed skin trouble in pre-opening events.
The regional health agency has yet to determine the
exact cause of the skin inflammations suffered by about 230 children after participating in the pre-events between July 4 and 5.
Research is being conducted on samples of mud, water and other substances, with results expected as early as Tuesday.
``For now, we presume it’s because of some contaminated water coming from Daecheon Stream and an unhygienic environment downtown,’’ a festival organizer told The Korea Times Sunday.
The official insisted the mud itself was safe and the festival was going ahead on Daecheon Beach as scheduled. ``We are using cleaner water and strengthening all sanitary steps so tourists don’t have to worry about it.’’
Some children are still being treated with several symptoms, including itching and rashes ― most of them are elementary school students who were on a field trip.
The pre-events took place on the embankment of Daecheon Stream in Boryeong City, South Chungcheong Province, to promote the official mud festival at the beach from July 11 through 19.
First opened in 1998, it has been one of the most popular seasonal events in the region.