Picture taken in January 2004.
|Revised Romanization||Saeman(-)geum bangjoje|
The Saemangeum Seawall, located on the southwest coast of the Korean peninsula, is the world's longest man-made dyke, measuring 33 kilometres. It runs between two headlands, and separates the Yellow Sea and the former Saemangeum estuary.
In 1991, the South Korean government announced that a dyke would be constructed to link two headlands just south of the South Korean industrial port city of Gunsan, 270 kilometres southwest of Seoul, to create 400 square kilometres of farmland and a freshwater reservoir. Since then, the government has spent nearly 2 trillion won on construction of the dyke, with another 220 billion won budgeted on strengthening the dyke and a further 1.31 trillion won to transform the tidal flats into arable land and the reservoir.
The construction of the Saemangeum Seawall has caused controversy from the moment it was announced as environmental groups protested against the impact of the dyke on the local environment. Supreme Court challenges in 1999 and 2005 led to temporary production stoppages but ultimately failed to stop construction of the seawall. Major construction was completed in April 2006, with the seawall 500 metres longer than the Afsluitdijk in the IJsselmeer, the Netherlands, previously the longest seawall-dyke in the world.
With remaining minor construction and inspection finished, the Seawall was officially open to the public on 27 April 2010. Lee Myung Bak, the incumbent president of Korea, has commented that Saemangeum would be "...the kernel and the gateway of South Korea's west coast industrial belt.", and is "another effort by us for low-carbon and green growth, along with the four-rivers project". A ceremony was held in Saemangeum the same day, with cabinet officials, politicians, and delegates from countries around the world.
- Lee, Chidong (27 April), "Lee says Saemangeum tidal flat to change S. Korea's history", Yonhap News
- “Saemangum seawall completed”, The Korea Herald, 22 April 2006, Seoul.