Japan does now jail polluters.
By, Uwe Paschen.
Japan is serious, when it comes to the environment. New legislation right in time for Earth day was passed and has been made law. Those laws are effective has of now with harsh Fines and even prison terms for polluters.
A few month ago Japan announced that it will make the environment a priority in spite of a global financial crisis caused by the collapse of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers last September 2008.
This was a most welcome announcement for Environmental groups as well as the Opposition parties in Japan, the UN and the IPCC, whose latest report gave us alarming prognosis for the Earth Environmental future and especially its ability to sustain Human life.
Prior to the Japanese announcement and the IPCC report we had James Lovelock's last Book published on the state of the Earth health and the consequences of our Industrial pollution on the Earth as well as on Human Politics, infrastructures, Economics and our future over all.
Japan did have many laws in place before the latest amendments and the additional laws put in place recently. However, some of those laws where not respected nor followed. In part due to a lack of enforcement. Mainly though, because the penalties where not harsh enough, making it cheaper to pollute and pay the fine if cough then not to pollute and follow the laws in place.
This has changed now with penalties of up to $100,000.00 for burning Plastic as well as up to 10 years Jail for any offender of those laws. Making the Japanese Environmental laws, by now the most severs in the World.
New taxes have been introduced as well as tax raises for existing environmental taxes on polluting products and habits such as the Automobile.
Reaching now over $1,500.00 for the annual car tax for Gasoline powered engines.
Making driving a car in Japan a luxury and a sin.
However, Eco-cars such as Hydrogen powered Cars will pay only $200.00 annual tax.
By next year the car tax, will be raised again forcing the consumers and the industry to change their habits and this at a fast pace.
At our Community centre, we received all the updates and new laws yesterday, to be circulated to all and to insure that all are made aware of the severity of the new penalties for polluting or breaking the environmental laws now in place.
Most here in Narita welcomed the changes and amendments with delight and I have to admit that I may even be enthusiastic about them personally.
Further announcements by the government included the goal to double the production of electricity with solar energy annually, replacing fossil fuels completely by 2015. With the goal to make Japans carbon foot print, completely neutral.
This would also permit to use renewable energies to stimulate a new economy and help overcome the present global crisis.
This with tax breaks for those that invest in Solar and other forms of renewable energies such as Thermal and wind power. Further by rasing the prise of power over all, encouraging conservation and by offering the same price for power sold by individual households Solar production then the one claimed by the power companies from individual households wish until now was not the case since we paid more for Power from the Power company then we received for Power sold to the grid.
This has positive implications for agriculture and farmers since they where some of the first to invest in Solar Power and with their building could produces a substantial amount of additional power if they where to add more solar panels, this would help then generate a much needed side income in view of the state that agriculture is in today.
Further changing the price structures by putting the highest price on pick hours will be accentuated in the upcoming month.
There are also plans in place now to change the policies for the building codes making it mandatory to build with power conservation and the environment in mind rather then optional.
Now, I just hope that Japan will maintain the momentum and resist all international pressures as well as become a model to follow by all other nations on this planet of ours.
So far it is a positive move and one that is much welcome by most here in Chiba Kent.
Now, we do still have a large number of other issues that need to be addressed and worked on, as well as changes to be implemented. Such as Whaling, still practiced today. However, we just took a big step into the right direction, this should not be overshadowed by what is still unsolved.
We also need to address the over fishing on an international level and this will be a very difficult issue for Japan in particular since it does consume over 140kg of fish per Capita per annum.
Nevertheless, Japan knows it will have to do more in that regard and yet, it is one of those few nations that does the most in view of conservation of the Oceans Fish supply, mainly because it does depend on it more then any other industrial country.
The main question in spite of all this good news and all the new laws that are now implemented is still out in the open. “Will it be enough and will it be in time to avoid an IPCC or Gaia like prognosis?”