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Garbage dumping taxes government budgets

Date Posted: 2006-07-22

Garbage and waste management costs governments millions of dollars each year, and costs are difficult to recoup from consumers.

Okinawa City spends ¥1,200,000,000 on garbage and bulky refuse each year, a staggering amount to process 41,036 tons of trash from residents’ homes and offices. City planners say the average Okinawa City family of four spends ¥30,000 for garbage disposal.

Illegal garbage disposal is the big culprit, because cleanup costs are not charged to the business or homeowner, but borne by the municipalities. Officials across Okinawa say illegal dumping is everywhere, and is on the rise. Televisions, washing machines, coolers and other electrical goods are found in abundance along roadsides. Thousands of old tires are there too. Okinawa City last year picked up 476 tons of illegally dumped trash.

“Citizens are calling and complaining,” a city official says, “so now we’re investigating again. If we find out who dumped something, we ask them to go take it back home. If they don’t, we call police.” Police say it is a never-ending problem, because most culprits don’t dump the offending materials when people re around.

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