Seoul Launches Initiative to Remove Illegal Banners

Seoul Metropolitan City has come up with an innovative way of cleaning up its streetscapes by announcing that it will give citizens money in exchange for illegal banners they remove.

A hugely popular way to advertise in South Korea, the banners known as ‘hyeonsumak (현수막)’ are usually made of fabric and are a cheap and effective way to get exposure. Unfortunately, many are often illegally placed between lampposts and other street features creating an excess of advertising and in some cases blocking views and creating pedestrian hazards.

The new initiative was launched last week in an effort to stop the ever increasing number of illegally placed banners which plague the city. According to a media release, selected citizens will be able to remove illegal banners themselves and swap them at their local community center for money.

Illegal Subway Ads.

Other illegal advertising materials citizens can collect in exchange for money. Image: SmallWorld

Similar programs for other illegal advertising materials such as posters and business cards are already in place in various areas of Seoul and has helped create jobs.

3-5 people will be selected for each dong (동) and anyone over 20 can apply to take part at their local community service center. Those selected will be given training on how to distinguish between an illegal banner and a legitimate banner and how to remove the banners safely. 14 gus (구) will pilot the program with plans to expand into other areas in the future if it’s successful.

Citizens taking part will be able to earn money based on the following scheme:

  • Smaller vertical banners — 1000₩
  • Standard size banners (like in the image above) — 2000₩
  • Limit of up to 100,000₩ per day, per person
  • Limit of up to 2,000,000₩ per month, per person

According to the city, the issue of illegal banners has been getting worse over the years with stats showing the average number of illegal banners in 2015 at nearly three times that of 2011. Some citizens have even gone so far as to take advantage times when city officials aren’t working, putting up banners on a Friday night so they can be seen over the weekend.

Banner: Seoul

About This Author

Originally from New Zealand, Andy moved to Korea in 2007 and very quickly became interested in the many different public transport and urban development projects around Korea. He currently lives in Sejong city and is particularly interested in rail projects, transport hubs and technology.

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