Participants Put Lessons of Ramsar Into Practice
By Park Si-soo
CHANGWON ㅡ The Ramsar Convention's endeavor to conserve the environment is not confined to the meeting itself. Participants and operators of the convention have joined together to use eco-friendly products during the session.
``Every document published by the Ministry of Environment is printed on `eco-friendly' paper using eco-friendly soybean ink,'' said Lee Im-ho, a local staff member from the Korea Eco-Products Institute, Monday. ``Its price is nearly 1,000 won ($0.8) higher per box than regular materials but we selected this as a move to cooperate with the meeting.''
To win the hallmark of ``eco-friendly,'' a sheet of paper must be comprised of at least 40 percent recycled paper and avoid undergoing a chemical coating procedure using fluorescent substances.
``The pencils we dole out to convention participants are fully made of recycled materials and were put together without chemical glue, which also negatively affects nature,'' Lee said.
Frames of stages for the convention and side events were mainly wooden but were assembled using natural glue not a chemical one to help prevent volatile toxic substances from evaporating into the air, according to the convention administration.
Ahead of the convention, the organization committee for the meeting purchased 2,000 ceramic mugs and placed them outside meeting rooms to be used for drinking water or coffee instead of paper cups. Several automatic washing machines were installed in the vicinity for washing.
``We also placed paper cups in case of a mug shortage. But they were biodegradable cornstarch cups, which doesn't give off toxic fumes when burned and take a shorter time than regular cups to degrade,'' the officer said.
The environment conservation also reached the accommodation.
The Pullman Hotel located next to the Changwon Exhibition Convention Center, the main venue for the Ramsar Convention, has introduced an eco-friendly room service dubbed the ``Reuse bed linen and tower campaign'' on the occasion of the meeting.
Under the campaign, guests are required to place a specific card on the pillow to have their bed linens changed and put towels in the laundry basket or wash basin to have them changed.
``Many guests here have actively participated in the campaigns,'' a hotel clerk said.
The institute officer said, ``We have made a set of guidelines, which encompass location, food, accommodation, transport and so on, to run the meeting in an eco-friendly fashion. The manual will be updated following the event and then distributed to governmental bodies and private firms to encourage them to host their events in this way.''