Ten Years after the Oil Spill in Taean: The Recovery of the Ecosystem, the Life of Women, and the Community

Citation:

Won, You Joon, Sujung Jang, Nuri Jung, Yejoong Kwon, Sae Yan Moon, Hyejin Nho, and Seung Jick Yoo. 2019. "Ten Years after the Oil Spill in Taean: The Recovery of the Ecosystem, the Life of Women, and the Community." Asian Women 35 (4): 1-22.

Authors: You Joon Won, Sujung Jang, Nuri Jung, Yejoong Kwon, Sae Yan Moon, Hyejin Nho, Seung Jick Yoo

Abstract:

Ten years have passed since the impact of the 2007 oil spill on the ecosystem and life of Taean Peninsula. We have investigated the status of the recovery of the marine environment, local economy, families and community by interviewing the people who have lived in Taean. We especially focused on differentiated impacts of the disaster by gender, and in the local communities. Women showed more severe vulnerability because of the limited job opportunities caused by the implicitly ongoing patriarchy in the society, the job characteristics of haenyeo, and underpayment for their labor during the clean-up operations. We also found that there have been social unrests in the local communities originating from conflicts over compensation and allocation of clean-up works, government emergency grants, and local development funds, in addition to high stress levels. The environmental disaster, the Hebei Spirit oil spill, was found to be responsible for the increased number of family break-ups through occurrences such as divorce, intensifying the negative impacts on women. Through this study on the short- and long-term effects of the Hebei Spirit oil spill, we conclude that environmental disasters have more significant and prolonged impacts for women and the community from physical, mental, and socio-economic perspectives.

Keywords: oil spill, environmental disaster, gender, community, family

Topics: Economies, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: South Korea

Year: 2019

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