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Chapter 30 Environment
The term "environment" is used in various contexts and its scope is not easily delineated. This chapter primarily focuses on the issues of air pollution, water contamination, sewage and waste disposal and global environment disruption.
1. Environmental standards
Environmental standards have been established on certain environmental factors based on the Article 16 of the Environment Basic Law as criteria that are considered essential for the protection of human health and the preservation of living environments (stipulated in Article 2-3 of the same Law).
2. Air Pollution Control Law
The Air Pollution Control Law was enacted in 1968 to replace the "Law concerning regulations on the discharge of smoke" in order to prevent air pollution by regulating the discharge of smoke from factories and by setting the maximum permissible limit of emission gas. A "general air quality measuring station" is a station that constantly measures and monitors air pollution based on the Law. In the same vein, an "automobile exhaust gas measuring station" is a station that constantly measures and monitors air pollution caused by emission gas from cars.
3. Acid rain
In general, the level of pH (hydrogen ion exponent) of rain is 5.6 under the influence of carbon dioxide. When rain has a lower pH level than 5.6, it is called acid rain. Damage inflicted by acid rain include adverse effect on fish due to the acidification of inland water such as lake and river, adverse effect on forests due to the acidification of soil, and the deposition of acid onto trees and cultural properties. There is widespread anxiety that acid rain may be responsible for the depletion and destruction of such resources. In fact, the ecosystems of lakes and forests have been suffering serious damage in Europe and America, thereby causing international problems across national borders.
Pollution complaint survey
The Environmental Disputes Coordination Commission, which is an extra-ministerial board of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, carries out the "Pollution Complaint Survey" based on the Article 49-2 of the Law concerning the Settlement of Environmental Pollution Disputes. It is designed to illuminate complaints against environmental pollution that are received at the office for pollution complaints in a local public body and how they are processed. The purpose is to examine the nature of pollution complaints, to provide data as basic materials for pollution control measures and to contribute to smooth processing of pollution complaints.
This survey was formerly composed of two surveys: the "Survey on the Number of Complaints against Environmental Pollution" and the "Survey on the Processing of Pollution Complaints." The purpose of the former was to reveal the number of complaints against environmental pollution received at the office for pollution complaints in local public bodies and by type of pollution, pollution source and type of damage. In the latter, one-twentieth of the pollution complaints received at the office for pollution complaints were randomly selected for each local body and for each fiscal year, and each selected case was examined as to how it had been processed. These two surveys were integrated into the present survey in 1994.
The Environmental Disputes Coordination Commission was established as an extra-ministerial board of the Prime Minister's Office in July 1972. It was founded based on the recommendation made by the Central Council on Environmental Pollution Control in 1970 that it is essential to institute an appropriate, effective and harmonized system for disputes settlement in public administration. First, the Law concerning the Settlement of Environmental Pollution Disputes was enacted in 1970. In 1972, an arbitration system was introduced and the organization of the Central Review Commission of Environmental Pollution was changed. Subsequently, the Environmental Disputes Coordination Commission was founded by integrating the Land Adjustment Commission, which had been arbitrating disputes concerning land use and the Central Review Commission of Environmental Pollution, based on the Law for the Establishment of the Environmental Disputes Coordination Commission.
Survey on general waste processing business
The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare conducts the survey on the following aspects in cities, towns and villages or some business unions concerning general waste disposal business and general waste treatment facilities. Specifically, it is designed to reveal the discharge volume of wastes per person per day, expenses and the number of staff per unit waste, the population size of city, town, or village and the average conditions of wastes by type of industrial structure. The findings of this survey are used as basic materials for planning effective means to improve the efficiency of waste treatment administration.
Survey on Discharge and Disposal of Industrial Wastes
The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare carries out this survey to use its results as basic materials in the administration of waste disposal. It is designed to reveal the actual state of the discharge and disposal of industrial wastes.
The survey consists of a factual survey, a survey on the discharge volume of industrial wastes, a survey of discharge and disposal of industrial wastes, a survey on the discharge volume of specially controlled industrial wastes and a survey of discharge and disposal of specially controlled industrial wastes.