YONGSAN GARRISON -- Environmental professionals from Seoul City, Yongsan-gu municipalities and Korean community neighbors were invited to Yongsan Garrison to provide them with an overview of how U.S. Army Environmental programs conducted on post, here, May 2.

The invitation is part of Green Neighbor Initiative (GNI), a leadership campaign to reach out to the local community and create a forum where environmental ideas and experiences can be shared. In accordance with GNI, Yongsan reached out to local universities, participated in local cleanups and tree plantings and sharing its environmental management system with the Republic of Korea Ministry of National Defense in the past.

Environmental experts from Seoul City and Yongsan-gu met the professionals of Yongsan Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division to be briefed about the environmental efforts they have employed to keep the Garrison clean. Col. Michael E. Masley, garrison commander for USAG Yongsan, in his opening remarks, underscored the garrison's responsibility to keep it clean and healthy and also the need for cooperation with its neighbors, Yongsan-gu and Seoul City.

"We have a responsibility to keep a beautiful country Korea for our future generations. We must ensure our posts are clean and safe for the people who live here and also for our Korean neighbors," Masley said. "The initiative will raise awareness to the many programs we have implemented to protect our environment and conserve energy. The program also highlights the importance of reaching out to our neighbors. By reaching out, we can be more transparent in our relationship, and it will strengthen the ROK-US alliance."

After the comprehensive briefing about the environment of Yongsan Garrison, the professionals had an In-depth discussion on many environmental subjects like Environmental Management Systems and Hazardous Waste Management.

"In my years of working in the environmental field, especially working for the Army, I experienced that the Army is committed to having a working relationship with the stake holders of the lands in which they operate on, protecting the environment," said William Rogers, chief of Environmental Division, Directorate of Public Works. There are many good stewards of the environment and they invest a lot of dollars into preserving environments and integrating their mission, the Army's mission, with sustaining the environment, so to minimize the impact upon the environment."

The experts enjoyed lunch at the Hartell House, and were introduced to the actual sites where environmental measures are taking place. After observing the Hazardous Material Control Center and Bio-pile, they came back to the conference room and shared their thoughts again.

"It is my first time visiting the Yongsan Garrison, and so far, I was only able to hear about the environment of Yongsan Garrison through the media," said Oh Dong-ha, director of Life Environmental team, Yongsan-gu. "As I received the briefing and a base tour, I can tell that the environment of Yongsan garrison is well under control. As one of the leading countries in preserving nature, the United States' law enforcement regarding the contaminants and the actual implementations in practice are impressive."