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Officials turn to technology in battle against illegal dumping

Date Posted: 2005-09-01

A person or persons unknown is illegally dumping cars, tires, metal and electrical appliances at various locations across Okinawa.

Prefecture officials say the practice at dozens of spots across the island is dumping hundreds of tons of materials that others must clean up at taxpayer expense. They’re now working with specialists, engineers and local businesses to protect against illegal dumping.

High tech television surveillance cameras are at the heart of the new campaign, and officials say they’ll capture images of the culprits. The plan is to install dozens of the cameras, complete with low light capabilities, motion sensors and special lighting circuits, at various locations throughout Okinawa. The camera systems will be linked to government agencies by satellite circuits. Officials won’t reveal the exact locations, saying that would tip their hand.

Twelve groups are teaming up to tackle the dumping dilemma. They’ll calculate where the worst locations are, what’s being dumped, how much, etc. A 2001 survey showed that dumping was taking place at 97 locations, leaving 1,400 tons of materials. Materials ranged from tree limbs and bushes to housing construction materials, rubbish, electrical appliances, cars and tires.

Naha City, Prefecture Police and telecommunication companies are working in tandem with universities and private enterprise to capture the would-be illicit dumpers. They will coordinate with local villages and towns to make sure everyone is working and watching.

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