Can the Human Civilization and the Global Environment Coexist ?
Professor of Graduate School of Frontier Science, The University of Tokyo / Special Adviser to the President of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
General Editor of Nature Interface
Has the waste taken out from Japan also influenced on the problem of the waste in those developing countries?
Yes. In fact, the amount of industrial wastes in Asia has increased due to the recent economic growth. The increase of illegal exports to the poorer countries like Cambodia is now the international dispute. In Japan, because of the high cost of processing industrial waste disposal, they let it out to settle. If we recycled the used car batteries in Japan, it might cause lead contamination. So we export them to China on the pretext of recycling. This is just an export of pollution.
Why does such a thing happen?
Do you remember the incident in which 122 containers of medical waste illegally exported from Japan were discovered in the Philippines the year before last? If they were processed in Japan, it would cost 200,000 to 300,000 yen (ca. 1700 to 2500 U.S. dollar) per ton. However, if we sold it to a developing country, it would be only 10,000 yen (ca. 80 U.S. dollar.)
These illegal exports of wastes are carried out by many other developed countries, for example, from Europe to Africa and from the United States to Central America.
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