About 85 percent of people living in Seoul are aware of the environmental issues concerning unused and expired pharmaceuticals, according to a survey conducted by the Seoul Institute.
(Source: The Seoul Institute)
** The survey was conducted among 1,000 adults
living in Seoul through Oct. 29 to Nov. 5, 2021.
Instead, about 24.7 percent to 46.5 percent of respondents said they threw the drugs away as general waste.
For liquid medicines in particular, about 16.1 percent flushed them away or poured them down the sink.
Han River placed 43rd among 137 rivers worldwide for the cumulative concentration of pharmaceutical pollutants, according to a University of York study published in February 2022.
Traces of 23 drugs were found among the 61 pharmaceuticals the study monitored.
The contaminant with the highest average concentration was Metformin, an ingredient for diabetes medicines. Metformin levels found were not serious enough to warrant immediate concern, Choi said.
Other drug substances found:
- Gabapentin, treating partial seizures, nerve pain
- Caffeine, a stimulant in coffee
- Sitagliptin, medication for treating diabetes
- Cotinine, a product formed after nicotine enters the body
“The city is also promoting ‘drug take-back day’
in multiunit houses and apartments, so people can easily throw away the drugs on a monthly basis.
About 148 multiplex houses are participating right now. We are in the process of expanding the project,” a Seoul city government official said.
The total collected amount of monthly pharmaceutical waste in Seoul increased from 7.47 metric tons in 2021 to about
10 tons in January-April in 2022, according
to the Seoul Metropolitan Government.