|Project Details||According to Tsukasa Kamata, Japan Times, Jun 7, 2007, the accumulation of industrial waste, including metal, oil and shredded construction material illegally dumped still occupied in 2007 nearly 80,000 sq. meters of the 15-sq.-km island of Teshima in the scenic Seto Inland Sea. Even so, cuttlefish, sea cactus, grass wrack, crabs and other tiny organisms had recently begun to reappear on the once foul-smelling black sludge mud next to the beach. Teshima was the site of one of Japan’s worst cases of illegal dumping of industrial waste. Activist Shozo Aki had started a young yellowtail fish project in 1975 when he had returned to the island after graduating from a university. But he was forced to close down the fish farm when a huge amount of filthy water laced with deadly dioxin leeched from the beach into the sea in 1990. Aki, at the time one of the younger residents of the island, went on to lead a grassroots campaign against the industrial waste disposal business, later becoming a board member of the Teshima residents’ council on industrial waste. In June 2000, the residents agreed with the Kagawa Prefectural Government on a plan to remove all the waste from the islet and render it harmless on the neighboring island of Naoshima. By 2007 one-third of the waste has been removed since April 2003. The cost for the removal and recycling work on Teshima and Naoshima is estimated at roughly 50 billion yen. About 60 percent will be covered by funds from the central government. “It took four years to remove one-third,” said Shigeharu Nakaji, 50, director of the Environmental Monitoring Laboratory in Osaka. “This shows it will take at least eight years to dispose of the remaining two-thirds. It is not clear whether the disposal program will be completed in a decade as claimed by Kagawa Prefecture.” Nakaji is part of a group of people, including lawyers, environmentalists and academic researchers, who have supported Teshima’s fight against the illegal dumping.|
In 2015 it was reported that over 700,000 tons of wastes have been treated so far, but there is a remainder has to be treated within 2 years. Kenji Goto, General Manager at Kagawa Naoshima JA office and Teshima KS office of Kubota Environmental Service Co., Ltd. to which Kagawa Prefecture has consigned the waste disposal business, said that the project costs increased to JPY 79 billion from the originally estimated JPY 49 billion, which are borne by the Japanese government and Kagawa Prefecture on halves. It takes 40 minutes to reach Naoshima Island by the special ship, which makes a round trip twice a day accommodating 18 trucks which can carry a load of 9.5t., that is, the total load will be 350t a day. The ship operates 220 days a year, so it means to carry 77,000t a year. (Source: Miru News and Report, 12/6/2015). In the meantime, Teshima has now an Art Museum for visitors.
The nationwide problem of illegal dumping of industrial waste remains unabated even after Teshima and other high-profile cases prompted the government to tighten penalties against offenders.
In 2005, Japan had 15.67 million tons of illegally dumped waste lying on its soil — roughly 30 times the amount dumped on Teshima, according to the Environment Ministry.
Update.- Teshima’s local resistance and activism in the island itself (with less than one thousand residents) cannot be understood as merely a NIMBY case, in which people complain of waste dumped in their island and agree to send it to another island forty minutes away. It also featured outside support, involvement of judicial and administrative authorities at wider scales, and became a well-known conflict that helped activists in other cases. By recording it in the EJAtlas it becomes part of the global movement for environmental justice with Shozo Aki as emblematic figure. In March 2017, the last load of waste left Teshima to go to Naoshima. Among the people seeing the ship off, there was Shozo Aki. "Of the 549 islanders who filed the petition, 320 are already dead," he said. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/newsroomtokyo/features/20170516.html