Haneul Park: Turning trash into treasure

by Ted Adamson
Stripes Korea

Seoul Korea is considered to be one of the world’s “megacities,” that is a population of over 10 million people. Ten Million people create one heck of a lot of garbage and disposing of the garbage creates a problem for society.

Seoul took the old adage that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” to heart and created The World cup Park which opened in 2002. It was built on a 15 year old landfill which held over 92 million tons of garbage.

It took six years to stabilize the waste and great care was taken to prevent the runoff from polluting the environment. Even now there are vents visible in the park.

Haneul Park is just one of the five small parks that make up the World Cup Park. It is the highest and offers the best views. It has five wind powered generators which provide power to the park and its maintenance offices.

Though you can walk to Haneul Park from the parking lot, there are electric vehicles which ferry people to the top.

On top of the hill there are acres of plumed foliage and great views of the Han River. On clear days you can see Namsan, Bukhansan and Gwanaksan. There is also a huge frame which resembles nothing more than a giant fruit basket. (Informed sources say that it actually represents a globe.)

You can drive to the World Cup Park by going west on the Gangbyeonbuk-ro. Watch for the signs for World Cup Park and Haneul Park turning off to your right.

Haneul Park is open year round and the hours of operation vary with the season. It opens daily at 9 a.m. and closes between 6:30 p.m. (November and December) and 9 p.m. (June July and August)

Haneul Park translates to either Sky Park or Heaven Park. Elevation might tell you “sky “is the better choice, but reclaiming what was once waste, makes “Heaven” the more viable alternative.

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