On average, Japan generates 1.8 million tons of trash each year. As Japan’s economy continues to grow and the average household income climbs, the amount of waste being generated by these households is always growing. Japan’s Ministry of the Environment is tasked with finding a solution to the rising mounds of garbage that are being produced on the relatively small island nation.
Japan has purchased a number of old barges and has begun shipping trash to these barges for indefinite storage. While this seems to be a reasonable short term solution, the Prime Minister and environmental advocates are quick to point out the many problems with this solution.
One of the northernmost Japanese prefectures has already reported problems with deteriorated fishing rates. Water in that area has been tested and an elevated level of Cadmium is to blame. Cadmium is often attributed to mining waste. Experts have no explanation at this time as to how the poisonous element is being introduced at high concentration to sea water.
In addition to reduced fishing yields, local tourist attractions have issued complaint that the trash barges are odorous and unsightly. Trash is blowing in the air and washing up on beaches. Wildlife is also consuming these trash items and dying as a result of the indigestible material.
The Prime Minister and Ministry of the Environment are actively seeking other solutions and are prepared to invest billions in the nation’s future waste management practices.