While that struggle was raging, waste-to-energy pow
plant business owner Lee Won-jeong in 2017 bought the site from Kim, but kept him on as manager. Lee is based in Busan, in the south of the country, and claims he was unaware of the problems at the site.
Lee says that after the sale, Kim deposited more than 80 times the amount of g
arbage permitted at the site, including household waste, construction materials, and discarded polymer.
The manager of the site had a permit to dump 2,000 tons of waste, the site holds more than 80 times that now.
As the trash mountain decomposed, gas built up under the surface. In December last year, fires began to appear.
Lee says that when he learned of Kim’s misconduct he fired him. Kim has since disappeared and CNN was unable to reach him for comment.
Kwon Hyun-soo, the Uiseong county environmental supervisor, says local authorities ar
e using their own resources to tackle the trash but the flaming mountain is too big for them to resolve.
”The waste is mostly from outside of our region. It’s too much for us to take care of the issue at the local level,” says Kwon.