Tuesday, February 15, 2005

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE, Recover, dispose

Waste management in Kyoto is a shocking embarrassment !
Observation: Among the general population of Kyoto there seems to be very little awareness of the issues that the Kyoto Protocol sets out to address and NO evidence of any behavioural changes on the part of businesses or by individuals, to work towards achieving those goals.
(February, 2005).

The current policy which maximizes the amount of materials being disposed of at Kyoto’s recently constructed Incineration Plant is an economic and environmental disaster which only benefits the small number of people directly involved: politicians, trucking companies and the company operating the plant.

Ironically , in 1999 just 2 years after Kyoto hosted the COP3 talks which ended with the signing of the Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouses gases, the Kyoto City Government commissioned the building of (what they call) the Tokuhobu ‘Clean Center’ in the forested hills about 4 kilometres north of the city’s northern edge.

This very unfortunate decision made by Kyoto’s Political Leaders
to build and run, at enormous cost,
the Tokuhobu‘Clean Center’ (Incinerator),
-after the city hosted the COP3 talks in 1997, has locked the people of Kyoto into a waste management regime which contravenes the Kyoto Protocol’s guidelines on waste minimization as it is dependant on the maximization of waste*, meaning that compliance can only ever be brought about by a directive from Central Government, -or even more unlikely, by pressure from the citizens of Kyoto who by some miracle, have become aware of the benefits of adopting a comprehensive policy on achieving Zero Waste
( as is being done successfully, for example, in New Zealand ). http://www.zerowaste.co.nz/

*This incinerator needs as much plastic as it can get in order to keep the burning temperature high enough to destroy the dioxins which it will otherwise be producing. For more on Incinerators go to:

Although some small recycling operators are managing to survive by getting people to voluntarily put out their recyclable goods on appointed days, probably more than 95% of the city’s household waste is put out unsorted, in plastic bags and is taken directly to the Incinerator.

The Kyoto City Council is making no apparent effort to set up facilities that would assist recycling operators to divert waste from going to the incinerator while it is allowing residents to contribute to the waste stream with no enforcement of any of its own regulations.

Fine for putting your trash out: Up to 1,000,000 yen.
(never been enforced)

Suggestion:The Kyoto City Government must enable its citizens and businesses to achieve the goals set out in the Kyoto Protocol by:
-putting in place infrastructure and facilities to enable waste to be diverted for reuse and recycling
-draw up a legal framework that rewards waste reduction and penalizes waste producers.
-review all its contractual relationships to reflect the Kyoto Protocol guidelines,
-educate all its citizens and business community on the benefits of minimizing waste.

Respect the spirit of the Kyoto Protocol.



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