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Dangerous gases discovered in Yomitan’s Namihira area

Date Posted: 2010-09-30

Investigators have documented methane gas plumes ten times the permissible toxicity in two areas of Yomitan Village Namihira area.

Reports to the Village office in June triggered the investigation that led to discovery of two dangerous locations, while finding four others without gases. Investigators also found hydrogen sulfide in one of the locations, also at a density higher than allowable levels. The Okinawa Prefecture Environmental Chief says the gas doesn’t explode immediately as it comes out of the ground, because the air dilutes it. “If we dig the soil, the bad smell will come out,” he says, “so it is better not to touch.”

One of the locations had methane gas recorded at 110,000ppm, and a second at 85,000ppm. Officials say methane gas can explode at levels above 53,000ppm. The hydrogen sulfide was recorded at 12.5ppm, above the permissible land quality 10ppm. Inspectors tested the water in the area as well, and discovered there was arsenic in the water.

Ahagon Naonori, group section leader of the Association of Protection of the Environment of Yomitan Village, is not happy. He asks why everyone “just looks and watches the land and does nothing?”, asking if there’s any scientific backing for the water check numbers.

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