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Asbestos alleged in debris removed from former base

Date Posted: 2009-04-16

A man who formerly worked at Camp Zukeran, better known as Camp Foster, is charging that debris removed from the American installation contained asbestos, and that it was bagged and taken to the Yomitan Village waste collection facility.

Okinawa Prefecture officials say they’re not sure yet what’s in the trash dump in Yomitan, but say they’re working together with base-related institutions to investigate. The former worker says rejected construction materials contained the toxic asbestos. “We know that asbestos has been found in a truck container,” a Prefecture official says, “but it doesn’t mean it came from the military base.” He said “we need to investigate very carefully, and we’ll discuss the matter with the Okinawa Self Defense Office.”

The Prefecture is taking measures that include studying air pollution near the waste collection facility to see if there’s any asbestos in the air, and to investigate vendors whose container trucks have been hauling materials to the trash dump. Ginowan City’s mayor is preparing to ask the Okinawa Self Defense Office for an investigation of the services between the U.S. military and the vendors.

The trash containing the suspected asbestos has been returned to Camp Zukeran by Okinawan officials. They say the waste materials are being very closely controlled.

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