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Interview: Japanese experts come up with multiple measures to tackle environmental damage

English.news.cn   2014-02-24 16:34:46

OSAKA, Feb. 24 (Xinhua)-- Instead of following a single option, experts on environmental policy solutions in western Japan suggested taking multiple measures in order to effectively tackle environmental problems that have plagued developing countries in the world.

Hideki Kitagawa, a professor of environmental policy at Ryukoku University in Kyoto City, noted that local authorities' administrative management of anti-pollution measures, such as the implementation of frequent inspections with close supervision and direct enforcement of relevant rules for companies, would be more effective in solving the problems.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, Kitagawa said that since " environmental pollution" is often caused by the industrial sector in a single region whose socio-economic attributes are different from those seen elsewhere, the matter should be initially managed on the local level.

"The central role of local government is to plan and implement more concrete measures, being facilitated by central government, to improve the bad situation as well as watch the overall long- term economic impact brought on by factories which follow neither preventive measures nor regulations," Kitagawa said.

In Japan, for example, prefectural ordinances in line with policies issued by the central government on environmental pollution prevention have been enforced in Tokyo Prefecture (the Metropolitan Government) and Kanagawa Prefecture since the 1970s.

Based on the notion of "environmental rights," the ordinances regulated standards for the discharge of contaminated gas and water as well as noise, mainly from factories and motor vehicles. Since then, similar rules have been set up in cities and towns across Japan to prevent further damage to local people's health.

Kitagawa said that when he was working as a civil worker for the Kyoto Prefecture government, it became more effective when the local government could apply tighter rules on polluted zones, with some flexibility depending on their conditions.

He stressed that people in adjacent sections of prefectural and municipal governments worked sincerely to conduct regular inspections of manufacturing premises as well as surrounding areas, such as rivers and channels, to monitor pollution levels. "In addition to daily inspections and observations, we carried out 'remedial guidance' to, for example, improve air quality, such as urging land transport companies (lorry operators) to use better oil and generate fewer pollutants. "

"Kyoto and Osaka Prefectural governments faced the same situation, in that they constantly carried out close supervision in those days for factories and companies, before local residents could inform us of matters they were suffering from," the professor said.

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Editor: Fu Peng
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