Research

#039

TRAVELLING THROUGH CONTAMINATED LANDS (5)

Yesterday, I met with an interviewee in Fukushima City. She has 2 sons (one in high school, the other one in middle school) and worries a lot about the consequences of radiation on their health. She has them take numerous tests to make sure they are not too exposed to pollution. When the high school asked the students to clean the school pool that had not been used since the accident, she firmly asked the professors to change their mind and to clean it themselves. Her children might feel ashamed or annoyed that she meddles into their school lives, but she can’t help being worried.

Then, she asked me if I had time and if I was interested in having a look at one of the temporary waste disposal sites. I was shocked to hear that they installed those in the middle of the city. We get on her car and she drives to the site. It’s located in between 2 or 3 schools and even more shocking, there is a temporary housing complex just next to it. So basically what they did is construct a waste disposal facility (where they stock contaminated soils collected from gardens, houses and roads) near the new (temporary) residence of people who were evacuated from the most dangerous zone in Fukushima Prefecture. And according to the interviewee, many residents of the city don’t even know that those sites are erected in the city. This is totally crazy.

Moreover, she took me a little further into the mountain, where they destroyed a children playground to create another of those disposal facilities. The only problem is that if it was to leak, the radioactive materials contained in those bags would just flow down the mountain and contaminate the city. Even people decontaminating the city find this idea odd and not frankly brilliant.

It’s really upsetting to see how little the residents are involved in the decision making process around decontamination and disposal sites’ constructions. They should be the one taking action and asking local governments to listen to their concerns, but nothing seems to be done. Or it’s simply done quietly, to avoid having people complaining too much. This whole situation is seriously driving me crazy, but I feel terribly powerless.

***

Listening to: f(x) – 4 Walls

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