Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Disaster Debris Wide-Area Processing: "What's the Point?" Asks a Mayor in Disaster-Affected Iwate Prefecture

Goshi Hosono and his Ministry of the Environment have been dead set on spreading flammable (and some non-flammable) disaster debris from Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures all over Japan to "help the disaster-affected areas recover". Hosono's sales pitch has been: "People in the disaster-affected areas want the debris to go away as quickly as possible, and there is no capacity in the local municipalities there to burn and otherwise process the debris."

Now, some mayors of the disaster-affected Miyagi and Iwate are asking "What's the point of spreading the debris all over Japan at such a great cost, when we don't mind having the debris in our town?"

Here's one of them, Katsumi Date, mayor of Iwaizumi-machi in Iwate Prefecture.

From Asahi Shinbun local Iwate version (2/29/2012), Mayor Date's thoughts on the disaster debris disposal scheme of the national government:


There are many issues that we at the local level don't understand. One of them is the disaster debris processing. I hear that the national government may not be able to fulfill its promise of removing all disaster debris in 2 years. But why do we have to remove the debris in such a hurry? It can remain in piles, and can be processed over 10, 20 years. That way, money is kept locally, and it generates jobs.


We have large tracts of land not currently used. We have no problem if the disaster debris remains here, unprocessed. What is the point of using taxpayers' money as if the sky's the limit and send the debris all over Japan?

I've read a series of tweets by a small-scale industrial waste processor in Miyagi Prefecture basically saying the same thing, that people in the disaster-affected areas are not that keen to ship the disaster debris out of the prefecture. This particular industry insider says people don't care, but they'd rather do it locally for the same reasons as Mayor Date mentioned above.

He also says the only entities who have benefited so far from shipping the debris are the local governments (on both ends of the debris shipping), and large waste management companies with ties to the prefectural and national governments.


Chibaguy said...

This is interesting - mayor Date is admitting there is no need to share the pain if it can be done locally as it creates jobs. On the other hand the lawyer in charge is trying to kill two birds with one stone for creating jobs elsewhere while sharing the pain 'contamination' everywhere. I am going to side with the former.

doitujin said...

why do they ask as late as now?

Vyse Legendaire said...

The wonders of 'capitalism.'

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Yup. They are monetizing the useless debris. Much like Ben Bernank monetizing (albeit sterilized) useless pieces of government debt, agency bonds, MBS. Lucky for Bernank, his monetization doesn't involve radioactive papers.

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