SEOUL, Jun. 13 (Korea Bizwire) — The Seoul Metropolitan Government is holding an online vote until the end of June to gather opinions on hot social issues ranging from pet cremation to a ban on public smoking, the results of which will be reflected in the city’s policy making.
The Seoul government received 175 policy proposals submitted by Seoul residents at democracyseoul.org last month, among which the final five were chosen.
The five most popular proposals include a public pet crematorium, a ban on public smoking, benefits for households without a car, the provision of necessity kits for mothers and newborn babies, and support for mental health assessments.
The proposal for a city-owned pet crematorium is projected to be a strong contender against the backdrop of growing pet ownership in the country, as the lack of pet cremation services is emerging as one of the social challenges facing an increasingly pet-friendly South Korean society.
“One in five households owns either a dog or a cat as a pet, and these animals have become new members of the family. However, a lack of appropriate facilities has pushed owners to bury their pets in the mountain discreetly, or incinerate them alongside medical waste,” a Seoul government official criticized.
Despite the growing number of pet owners, there is still a possibility that support for the proposal could stall in the face of NIMBYism similarly experienced in other parts of the country.
When a pet crematorium was first built in Cheongju in North Chungcheong Province, it was met with strong opposition from those in the local community who were concerned about environmental pollution and the negative connotation that followed.
A ban on public smoking is also expected to prove popular as public calls to expand smoke-free space continue to grow amid concerns over the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.
Another policy idea proposed by Seoul residents aims to tackle air pollution by giving discounts or free passes for public transport to households that don’t own a car.
Online voting for the final five policy proposals is open until the end of June at mvoting.seoul.go.kr, and voting booths will hit Seoul Plaza from July 3 to 7 for those who wish to cast a vote in person.
The final results are set to be announced at the closing ceremony of the 2017 Seoul Idea Expo, which is scheduled to be held on July 8.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)