Japan's environmental dilemma.
By, Uwe Paschen.
In Japan we do have an environmental dilemma of sorts.
We have laws and regulation in place here that are suppose to help the environment and some of those Laws are rather harsh and other are very good and appropriate.
We do even have inspectors, an environmental Police of sorts that makes sure those laws and regulations are being followed and obeyed.
The dilemma though is that it does not work, or at least only in part. What works in the Cities may not work in the Country and vice versa.
The government has invested substantially in education, awareness program and Environmental self praising messages as well as recycling plants and collection facilities. All that sound and looks great at first, however it does have a great many flaws and makes the whole efforts almost point less and counter productive.
Some of those problems are small and could easily be rectified with minor changes or amendments to the existing Laws and regulation, That however can not happen, for two simple reason.
One, our Government here is a minority Government that should call elections and so it is demanded by the opposition, however they do not for they still hope a miracle may happen and bring them back up in the polls, wish is rather unlikely since they keep on falling for now four consecutive years in row. This situation has paralysed the Government for now two years to the point that absolutely nothing is happening since the opposition does block every bill regardless of what it may be, the hole thing resembles more and more a farce and puppet show rather then responsible governing and wise politician being in charge.
The second problem are our Bureaucrats, here in Japan they are the real power and they are refereed to by as the new samurais of modern time, only no longer terrorizing every one with a sword they now do it with a pen in hand, and this very effectively and with great agility I may add.
One of the main problems this day that people complain about is the burning of plastic, wish is illegal here. However still practice to the point that it can at times suffocate you.
In Cities this is mostly under control and does not happen any longer, since garbage has to be separated and is being collected weekly and because garbage fees are automatically deducted with the rent or the Condominium fees, so the problem is non existing in the large Cities due to sound policies and to many nabbers watching.
However in the country this is a totally different story, since people here are suppose to be more self reliable and responsible and bring their Garbage to the collection facilities and pay the fee there in accordance to the amount broth.
Why most Farmers here burn all the plastic they used on the fields for their potatoes and other vegetable in stead of recycling it. Now you may ask why not build in the fee directly into the purchasing price with an extra they would get back for each and every Kilogram of plastic they return. It would be a brilliant Idea and simple enough solution to fix the hole dilemma once and for all.
However this wont happen even though people complain about it and inspector tour the country site, yet those inspectors work 9 to 17 and only from Monday to Friday, this of course the Farmers do know as well and why the burning starts at 17 hours sharp and stops at about 6 in the morning and on weekends, well it goes on all day.
So until our Political crisis is resolved and the Bureaucrats become a wee bit more flexible we will have to put up with the plastic burning and may as well smoke our self to death for that would be healthier in a way.
It is to bad though that the Farmers and I am one my self can not be more conscious of them self, maybe it is because Money is involved and the fact that they wont see the harm they inflict not only on the environment at large, but directly to them self and especially to young children and elderly, since those are the once ending up in Hospital with major respiratory problems.
NHK, the Japanese main TV Channel here does only report the positive aspects of the environmental laws and the recycling plant not the fact that the law is not being followed because it has to many flaws.
How nice would it be if we where more responsible and did not need more government but could self regulate our selfs wisely, however this may just remain an illusion.