More than 2 million trees have been cut down in South Korea over the last three years to make space for solar panels, according to opposition lawmakers who argue that the government’s renewable push should not be a replacement of nuclear energy.
Since the government strongly pushed for solar power business in 2017, 4,407 hectares of forest have been damaged, 15 times the space of the Yeouido area of Seoul, according to Rep. Yoon Sang-jin of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party on Thursday.
The removal of trees, which stood at around 310,000 in 2016, jumped to about 670,000 in 2017 and over 1.3 million in 2018.
By region, the most deforested area is North Gyeongsang Province, where over 600,000 trees have been cut down. It was followed by South Jeolla Province that saw the removal of 460,000 trees.
“Although it is good for the government to push for renewable energy as complementary energy sources, it cannot replace the nation’s mainstay energy sources,” said Rep. Yoon.
He added the government should abolish its anti-nuclear policy that runs counter to fine dust measures, and recover the mountains damaged by solar power business.
In response, the Korea Forest Service said the damage has been reduced since the revision of the Management of Mountainous Districts Act in December of last year to curb damage to forests and trees.
By Shin Ji-hye (firstname.lastname@example.org)