In the Daedong Festival, which returned after three years in September 2022, ST could see the laughter of Soongsilians for the first time in a long time. Daedong Festival, along with various contents, such as the main stage, substage, food truck, day booth, and night booth, remained unforgettable to us. However, this festival remains a bad memory for the Earth. During the Daedong Festival, streets were overflowing with trash, without distinguishing what is disposable and what can be recycled. Various festivals are returning to our daily lives, just as SSU's Daedong Festival, which was held for the first time in three years due to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. With more festivals, and more trash being added, can we take any action?
At the 2022 Seoul World Fireworks Festival held in the Han River Park area in Yeouido, Seoul in October 2022, fireworks embroidering the night sky comforted our hearts that were tired of COVID-19. However, these fireworks caused carcinogens and fine dust. According to a study by the Department of Global Environmental Engineering at Pukyong National University and the Dioxin Research Center, the increase in HAPs (Hazardous Air Pollutants) after the explosion of fireworks at Haeundae Beach was 745 times that of the general atmosphere in the autumn. The amount of air pollutants explosively increases in an instant. The Seoul Institute of Health and Environment said that the concentration of fine dust and ultrafine dust around the venue soared and decreased within two hours based on the air quality impact survey during the 2019 World Fireworks Festival. Fortunately, when there is clear weather without fine dust, such dust and smoke are produced immediately after the event. Nevertheless, festivals are required in the direction of pursuing eco-friendliness and carbon neutrality.
An eco-friendly festival strives to protect the environment by increasing energy equipment efficiency or by preparing unnecessary energy-blocking measures, reducing one-time products, and blocking or replacing waste-generating factors to reduce carbon emissions. These eco-friendly festivals could be found at nearby Ewha Womans University. The main concept of the Ewha Womans University festival, which was not held for three years like that of SSU, was eco-friendly. As you pass between the festival booths on campus, you can easily hear words like 'environment' and 'zero waste.' The slogan "RE: WHA Ewha's Rewrite Green" also contains the meaning of what is like to be eco-friendly. It was easy to find students carrying drinks in multi-use cups throughout the campus. When ordering drinks from a truck run by the cafe franchise, ‘The Venti,’ the deposit was paid together with 1,000 won. Then the cup was returned to the multi-use cup return machine installed in the school building. Trash busters, a company that operates multi-use container rental services, also participated in the festival. Moreover, some of the booths that do not have separate multi-use containers gave discounts on food prices when buyers brought tumblers or multi-use containers. Eco-friendly events, such as eco-friendly quizzes and the experience of using sock cup holders, were also held everywhere. When the Seoul Environmental Union set up its own booth and brought the bottle cap, it also changed the bottle cap into a toothpaste weave made through upcycling.
Even after the festival, multi-use cups can be used at The Venti at Ewha Womans University. Jang Ji-hoon, head of the Seoul Metropolitan Government's household waste reduction team, said, "We plan to support the reduction of waste on campus not only at festivals, but also during ordinary situations." Eco-friendly festivals have made everyday life eco-friendly. Furthermore, these eco-friendly festivals have a good effect on people who are passive toward eco-friendliness by forming an atmosphere to reduce waste.
The movement toward such eco-friendly festivals is becoming more pronounced overseas. More and more people are trying to use eco-friendly firecrackers or events that replace fireworks. Some U.S. (United States) states have replaced fireworks with LED (Light Emitting Diode) or drones on Independence Day. Dutch tech startup ‘Studio Roger Harder’ made firecrackers ‘Spark’ with biodegradable organic materials, and introduced them in June and August this year in *Bilbao,* Spain, and *London,* England, respectively. Another example is in Australia. The Meredith Music Festival is one of Australia's oldest festivals that was held since 1991. Of course, music is a festival with various activities, but the hottest keyword is being eco-friendly. *Meredith*, the venue of the festival, is an area where water is very precious, and strives to reduce water usage by composting manure and rainwater shower booths. As such, the idea of eco-friendliness is dominant in hosting festivals overseas.
In Korea, interest in eco-friendly festivals has also been increasing recently. Festivals that do not pursue eco-friendliness are considered anachronistic in a situation where they are trying to hold garbage-free festivals nationwide. It is very difficult to hold a trash-free festival with voluntary civic participation, so public institutions should take the lead. The government prepared these guidelines under the Prime Minister's order, and local governments are also enacting environmental ordinances. Most of the local festivals are supported by local governments' budgets, so the evaluation items should include environmental information, such as disposable products. In the case of festivals organized by local governments, the role of public institutions can be adjusted to some extent. But the most important thing is our mindset and will.
In fact, we do not only enjoy festivals organized by public institutions, but rather enjoy festivals hosted by individuals. In festivals like these, our efforts are an absolute factor. Our efforts here are aimed at protecting the environment directly, but they include patronizing eco-friendly festivals. Of course, what happened in the past cannot be reversed, so the Daedong Festival of SSU is a sad example. We still have time to show our efforts for the environment. In the future, we should exercise our rights as consumers with an interest in eco-friendly festivals. Eco-friendly festivals are now essential to continue to be sustainable. You should be able to speak out against festivals that do not strive to protect the environment.
Lee Yun-so (ST Reporter)