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Saemangeum Barrage, South Korea
Ju Yung Ki
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 kilometers southwest of Seoul, to create 400 square kilometres of farmland and a freshwater 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 and internationally important coastal ecosystems. Today the government indicates that it values tidal flats, formerly seen as "wasteland", differently and plans better protection for the remaining mudflat areas.