The 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics is nearing its end. Like many
other Olympics in recent memory, the Pyeongchang Games
have fueled serious concerns over displacement of residents and
environmental degradation. It was particularly devastating to
witness massive deforestation of Mount Gariwang, a 500-year-old
mountain that has been protected as a sacred area for centries.
The beautiful forest of more than one hundred thousand trees, big and small, has now transformed into a
skiing venue despite all the community efforts to stop the destruction.
Keenly watching the restoration process, environmental groups are trying to do what they can do in
the meantime. On February 20th, Korea Zero Waste Movement Network donated 1,741 used cell
phones to the Ministry of Environment to contribute to post-Olympics restoration cost. From
September 2017, the organization has actively raised awareness on the environmental impacts of
the Olympics as well as the value of recycling used cell phones. Students and those supporting the
movement from 509 schools throughout the country have participated in the campaign over a period
of three months.
From 1,741 cell phones, the organization was able to retrieve 70g of gold, 52g of palladium, 24,374
g of copper and other rare metals. The economic value is approximately equivalent to $6,000.
Even though the money raised through this campaign is not the major source for the restoration of
mount Gariwang, the donation delivers our worries and hopes for the ecological restoration of the
Olympics venue along with a success story of e-waste recycling and commmunty organizing.