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Not in My Backyard - Citizens Oppose New Trash Facility

Date Posted: 2001-02-02

The problem in much of Okinawa is that the island is literally drowning in the trash its residents generate. Most of the island’s landfills are about full and it is impossible to find new suitable sites. In its trash problem, Naha City has long sought cooperation from neighboring communities and finally about one year ago clinched an agreement with Haebaru Town to construct an incinerator facility.

However, upon learning about the plan, Haebaru residents rose up in the arms and have now forced the town’s assembly members and Mayor Toshiyasu Shiroma to reconsider.

In a meeting Monday, attended by several members of Haebaru Town and Naha City assemblies, the mayors of Both cities and several residents from districts that would be in the vicinity of the proposed incinerator, people representing Haebaru Town stated flatly that they do not want the facility in their neighborhood. “If we accept this incinerator that also means that we will have to accept all trash from Naha City. There is no guarantee that the incinerator would not pose a health hazard to local residents, so there is no way we will accept this facility,” a representative from Haebaru summed the citizens’ opinion.

That puts the problem back to square one, and as Naha City landfills will be full in about three years from now, the problem grows more urgent every day.

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