The Partial Revision of Waste Management and Public Cleansing Act and the Basic Act on Disaster Control Measures, published and enacted in July 2015, were expected to be the driving force behind disaster waste measures pushed forward by the Ministry of the Environment. Aims of the revised Law include showing the successful directions that programs for disaster waste management are taking and creating agreement among those people concerned with and working on disaster waste disposal strategies.
In addition, principle objectives for revising the Law include a need to transform basic attitudes/perspectives regarding disaster waste measures, as a means of building a stronger legal framework and exhibiting this as a system, rather than revising the waste disposal treatment system substantially. The main legal points of significance for this revised law are : 1) System maintenance for disaster waste measures depending on the scale of the disaster ; 2) Expansion of the number of persons engaged and readjustment of their roles in handling disaster waste disposal treatment ; 3) Immobilization of a structure whereby a country acts on waste disposal treatment by itself ; and 4) Expansion of specific and detailed measures related to disaster waste treatment within disaster prevention legislation.
Based on lessons learned from the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and other disasters, it is understood that disaster waste management and preparedness for proper and efficient disposal of disaster waste is extremely important. The Ministry of Environment has been holding meetings of the Expert Committee on Disaster Waste Management since 2015. The committee is dedicated to archiving of disaster waste management cases and the verification of waste treatment technologies and systems used in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
In 2015, the Law for Partial Amendment to Waste Management and Public Cleansing Act and the Basic Act on Disaster Control Measures were enacted. In addition, multilayered waste management systems at both the national and local level are being reinforced. In order to be prepared in the event of a large-scale disaster, a support network that brings together local governments is presently being fully upgraded and strengthened and information to promote preparedness for disaster waste management by local governments etc. is being collected, sorted and arranged to be of use for future needs.
With the great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake now 20 years behind us, In this paper, I reflect upon methods and attitudes regarding disaster waste management then and now. Additionally, based on my experiences and lessons learned during the support efforts provided following the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake I propose new approaches to dealing with preparedness for treatment of disaster debris in the case of any possible future large-scale disasters.
Based on our experience working on disaster waste treatment following the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake and the Tokai floods in 2000, we have been involved in agreements of mutual support together with the various municipalities and businesses of Aichi Prefecture. We have offered support to Aichi municipalities regarding the creation of guidelines for the development of a disaster waste management plan. Currently, we are reviewing the Aichi Prefecture Disaster Waste Management Plan, which aims to promptly treat the large amount of disaster debris left in the wake of the earthquake. The quickest possible recovery and reconstruction plan must be put into place in order to protect citizens′ lives and industrial activities when large-scale disasters occur, especially the Nankai Trough Earthquake which is predicted for this area. In the past, we estimated the amount of disaster waste that was generated based on the latest findings, i.e. publications such as New Damage Estimation for Aichi (May 2014) and the Disaster Waste Management Guidelines (March 2014 Ministry of the Environment). We are also conducting studies regarding the construction of disaster waste processing systems for each region. Based on our past studies, we will continue our support for the formulation of a municipal disaster waste management plan and will continue to review the Aichi Prefecture Disaster Waste Management Plan so as to keep the prefectural treatment system fully up to date.
This paper looks at several possible directions guiding disaster waste treatment systems for massive-scale earthquakes and other disasters, such as the Tokyo and Nankai Trough earthquakes, which are being predicted for the future and which are expected to include even more extensive damages than those seen in the Kobe Earthquake of 1995 or the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake of 2011. Disaster waste, which can often have important personal value to victims, must be handled separately from daily refuse. Managing disaster wastes is an important issue, especially in the first stage of disposal before it is permanently taken out of the damaged area. From lessons learned during the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, it is crucial that each local government prepares its own Waste BCP, which is Business Continuity Plan with regard to waste treatment. Such plans have to be developed based on damage estimations from local government functions and facilities, with the most effective approach being creation of a support team comprised of local governments from prefecture and municipalities such as city, town and village. However, the very most important element is the establishment of a nation-wide coordination system. This would function not only between the 8 regional blocks of local environmental management branches but also between all 47 prefectures, putting in place a totally effective give-and-take for support systems.
Following the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, we were able to store scores of relevant knowledge and technologies relating to the disaster. It is now essential that these legacies are not lost or forgotten due to things like replacement of staff in earthquake-stricken communities or the stream of time. We have therefore successfully categorized and stored this comprehensive information on disaster waste management procedures and by taking advantage of these “archives”, have simultaneously identified “rate-determining factors” (facts that may effect management of disaster waste so as to speed up or slow down procedure outcomes) from 4 focused locations. In addition, we have compiled ten points (A-J) that will be crucial to planning future measures against disasters : A) Preliminary planning ; B) Organization of initial response to disaster ; C) Reinforcement of liaisons and cooperation between prefectures, local authorities and private sectors ; D) Deliberations on technological issues in preparation for serious disasters ; E) Preparations for effective use of open lands ; F) Appropriate management of temporary storage areas ; G) Confirmation of final disposal capacities and facilities for waste reuse ; H) Simplification of procedure for facilities for waste disposal ; I) Establishment of networks between individuals and entities concerned, and development of human resources ; and J) Advertisement and care for residents and the people affected.
Treatment of approximately 31000000 tons of disaster wastes, generated out of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011, was carried out in several temporary treatment facilities as part of a comprehensive disaster waste treatment system. It was important that the experiences and knowledge obtained through this work of treating the wastes were carefully reviewed and systemized in order to effectively be utilized for any future disasters, in particular catastrophic ones. With this in mind, the Working Group on Systems and Technology, a sub-group of the Committee on Catastrophic Disaster Waste Management, established by the Ministry of the Environment, was given the task of conducting a review of case histories regarding disaster waste treatment related to the recovery work from the 2011 disaster. This review has been designed for municipal governments to utilize in the event of future catastrophic disasters. It is a systematic review of the circumstances and given conditions, treatment processes, criteria for accepting incineration plants, cement manufacturing, etc., and also includes experiential information on separation systems and equipment based on information provided by member companies of the Japan Federation of Construction Contractors, who were all engaged in disaster waste treatment projects during this disaster. A summary of this review is presented in this manuscript.