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Illegal dumping increasing; culprits mainly unidentified

Date Posted: 2010-01-28

At least 94 Illegal dumping cases were recorded on Okinawa in 2008, a total of 10,282 tons of waste found in forests, on beaches and along rivers.

The Okinawa Prefecture Environmental Maintenance Section has published its findings, showing nearly double the amount of waste dumped last year compared to 2007. Last year there were 83 dumping cases recorded, with a total of 5,449 tons of waste and debris logged. One reason for the increase is more intense record keeping, officials say, particularly in the Miyakojima City numbers.

Research was tallied by sending forms to each municipality health center. Results from the municipalities showed 48.3% of the waste was from normal household trash, but included electronic goods, furniture and bulky rubbish. Industrial waste totaled 15.1% of the waste, while mixed illegal dumping trash accounted for 52.4%. An environmental section official says most of the illegal dumping was in places where access was easy.

The worrisome question is “who is dumping the trash?” and officials say they were able to track down the culprits in only three of the 94 illegal dumping cases last year. Roughly 68% of the illegal trash dumping was done in the wilderness and fields, with the rest in forests, along riverbanks, and on beaches. Okinawa Prefecture is asking the general public to work closely with police and municipalities to keep a watch on people dumping trash in places they shouldn’t. Punishment for illegal dumping is a maximum of five years in jail and up to ¥10 million in fines.

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