“Just a little effort of each one of us can make a big wave to protect the environment and Earth.” urges Ita Seoul

김선중 기자l승인2024.05.24l수정2024.05.24 11:19

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Ita Seoul is an environmental organization that encourages people to pick up garbage in their village with its app ita.city. ita.city is an open source platform with which people do jogging while picking up garbage. Through sharing more than 2,500 ita.city stories, Ita Seoul has created protection of environment equivalent to preventing 1.4 billion mg fine plastic getting into the oceans, better hygiene in 46,000 children’s playgrounds, 1.03 billion won worth community cleanup, and 32.3 tons of CO2 reduction. Ita Seoul received a citation from the Minster of Oceans and Fisheries, and won the 2022 Eco Awards and the 2023 Human Technology Awards in the social and public contribution category. Monthly PowerKorea sat down with CEO Hanyousarang and learned its activities in Q&A.

 

Q. What does Ita Seoul mean?

A. Ita means altruism in Korean. However, we mean it to be a benefit for both me and other. To put it simple, by doing a good deed by me or you, we can create a better and cleaner society.

 

Q. What made you establish Ita Seoul?

A. It was June 2016 that I and my friends in the same mind started meeting for donation and volunteer. Raising a fund for children with heart disease and making toy cars with garbage were the first two projects we started after establishment of Ita Seoul, officially registered as a charity organization in August 2018. 

 

Q. It seems that it had nothing to do with protection of environment at first?

A. Making toy cars with garbage, we called it RACE:UP campaign. Many of them joining the campaign were families and the role of fathers were important as they had to build a race car on a 3 miter high rail. Competition was fierce between families and some succeeded and some failed. After the game, around 20 to 30 cars were donated but the number jumped to 100 and we had to find a way to dispose of these cars. This was the point we started thinking about protection of environment.

 

Q. What campaigns are you currently running?

A. Picking up garbage, pet beach and RACE:UP. Pet beach is an activity of monitoring garbage on the beaches and it includes education and data base. Picking up garbage especially has built more than 3.2 million picking up stories into data base so far.

 

Q. We’ve heard ita.city project. What is it about?

A. ita.city is environmental data initiatives. Around 39,000 contributors for the last 4 years have participated in the picking up garbage campaign. We believe that it has raised people’s awareness of environment and cleaner villages and cities.

 

Q. What drove ita.city initiatives?

A. We believe that a little effort of a person to protect the environment and Earth can lead to a whole level of effort through building the environment data. For the last 4 years, around 40,000 people have engaged in picking up garbage on hiking trails and raised people’s awareness of the problem to put styrofoam delivery boxes on the alleys. 

 

▲ Ita Seoul / CEO Hanyousarang

Q. Is it a group activity?

A. No. It is an individual activity. We have gone through the pandemic since 2020 and people have become familiar with acting alone. So we encourage people to join the campaigns in their village on our platform.

 

Q. 40,000 participants are a remarkable number.

A. It is. They are from 7,500 villages nationwide and they are the ones who have made a small challenge a big result. They have picked up around 3 million garbage including cigarette butts in the rivers and the coasts. This is equivalent to preventing 1.4 billion mg fine plastic getting into the oceans, better hygiene in 46,000 children’s playgrounds, 1.03 billion won worth community cleanup, and 32.3 tons of CO2 reduction. 

 

Q. We learned the pet beach project earned a citation from the Minister of Oceans and Fisheries?

A. We and other organization and companies collected garbage on the beaches alongside monitoring. It started from 2022 and around 300 companies are participating at the moment including CJ, U.S. Embassy, CU, Asiana Airline, Hotel Silla, HMM, Korlon, and Hyosung Advanced Materials. 

 

Q. What other activities are you currently running?

A. We are working on a luminous garbage picking up map and on collecting environmental data in cooperation with the National Institute of Ecology, Yuhan Corporation, and Samsung SDS.

 

Q. Tell us a bout a day to remember.

A. The day we found a corpse on the beach. Sea trash was the cause. These things are no different for animals in the land. Who made this happen? It is we who made this happen. In fact, we are no different from animals as a living organism on Earth. We have no right to destroy it.

 

Q. Please give our readers a message.

A. Our message is clear: Do not destroy the environment but protect it. We can do this by adding a little effort of each one of you to make a big wave. We must remember that one day it will be us who might be found on the beach dead if we do not take it seriously and do not act accordingly. But together, we can make things better, make our planet cleaner. Please join us and act now!


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