Agriculture, Biodiversity, Chemical effects & toxins, Disease, Environmental economics, Freshwater, Health and medicine, Industry, Natural resource management, Ozone depletion, Pesticides, Pollution, Science and technology, Toxic waste, Trade and environment, Waste management, Water resources
Year of Production:
1995 - 2009
Japan's Lessons on the Economy and the Environment (31 mins)
Japan is recognized as economic leader and technology nowadays. However in the course of economic growth after World War II, Japan had earned reputation of heavily polluted country. Japan suffered from all kinds of pollution because of the heavy industrialization at the expense of environment and people's health; Minamata disease, Yokkaichi asthma, Itai Itai disease are just a few well known examples. This program looks back how Japan has suffered from the pollution, then concur the problem without damaging the economic growth. It analyzes what cost more for companies, pursuing profit without care for the environment, or investing in the environmental measure at the very first stage.
Japan's Pollution Experience: Light and Shadow of Pesticides (31 mins)
As Japan rapidly industrialized after the WWII, use of pesticides and chemical fertilizer for farming increased dramatically. Even though these new chemicals seemed like a great invention for easing the hard work of farming and increasing the produce, farmers started feeling bad effects on their body. Hard-to-decompose Chemicals in nature that were released into the open field found their way to the river, air, soil and in the body of livestock, then finally in the human body . It was when unusually high level of pesticides residues was found in vegetables that consumers took their action. This film is about the consumers 'searching for safe food, and farmers' struggles to produce food without using chemicals as well as the government's implementation of regulations moved by the civil voice.
Stop Fluorocarbons (30 mins)
In an urgent recognition on the protection of the depleting ozone layer, international community adopted the Montreal Protocol in 1987 to phase out the production and use of ozone depleting substance. However, the emission of the CFCs into the air had still been continued until the legislation of collection and destruction of used CFCs was in effect. In Japan, it was the citizen's group who took action in collecting CFCs out of demolished cars, air conditioners and refrigerators and urged to the lawmakers to enact the law. The documentary depicts the experiences by Japanese people in an effort of implementing the Montreal Protocol.
Japan's Pollution Experience: Bringing Water Back to Life (33 mins)
Many developing countries in Asia face challenges in providing clean drinking water and safe sanitation to all their people. Japan experienced similar situation when it rushed into economic development four decades ago. Untreated discharges from factories and homes polluted the rivers and lakes became so contaminated that even mosquito could not survive. The Minamata Disease and other illnesses caused by polluted water were major topics in the 1960s and 1970s, which raised awareness among the people and companies.
Stricter regulation and penalties on industrial waste water discharges forced Japanese industry to treat and purify waste water. These also spurred development of water disposal technologies. Meanwhile, households started using soap instead of chemical detergents. This originated in the Biwa Lake area, Japan's largest lake, to prevent the lake from eutrophication.
Both people and factories learned that controlling pollution at the sources is the best way of cleaning water. Freshwater fish slowly returned to the Tama river in the Tokyo Metropolitan area. But there are still problems like eutrophication of lakes, which shows how hard it is to restore aquatic ecosystems once polluted.
Japan's Pollution Experience: Island of Waste (30 mins)
Japan gained material wealth after rapid economic growth which lifted the people's living standards. Especially in cities, mass production and consumption led to generation of massive volumes of waste. Japan first handled its waste by burying it in the mountains or using it to reclaim lands offshore. However, this method soon reached its limitations. Industrial waste produced from factories and construction sites had nowhere to go except to less populated countryside and remote islands. These became waste mountains causing much pollution. By the time illegal dumping was exposed, so much waste had accumulated. Garbage pollution is difficult to tackle because it comes from numerous sources both domestic and industrial. Victims and victimizer are not visible to each other, which makes the situation more complex and hard to resolve.
This film features Japanese citizens who questioned their waste legislation and voluntarily started recycling campaign. It recalls the challenges that Nagoya city faced when it withdrew a new reclamation plan, and looks at a typical illegal dumping site in Teshima island, Kagawa prefecture.
Japan's waste problems are far from over. The film ends with the key question: How can production and consumption minimise waste generation in the future?
DVD: US$ 30
Note: DVDs Encoded in DVD Region 0 (universal)
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