Asahi Shimbun has revealed a widespread series of problems with the decontamination program in Fukushima. The Environment Ministry hired groups of construction contractors to do the work and set out rules to be followed such as collecting contaminated water and proper disposal of debris.
What was found was widespread failure to follow the rules and purposeful misconduct that may lead to even worse contamination of the region. Companies hired to do the work were found dumping soil and plant debris into rivers and ditches rather than isolating and packing up the materials for proper disposal. This practice just moves the contamination to another place. By putting it in rivers or water ways it increases the amount of contamination running into rivers. These construction crews also failed to collect contaminated water, instead letting it run off into the environment causing the contamination to simply gather somewhere else.
MEXT and local municipalities have been finding increasing numbers of contaminated freshwater fish in the region. At this point it isn’t completely clear if the two are connected.
Workers also told reporters they were instructed to only decontaminate in the areas where decontamination comparison readings were to be taken. The Environment Ministry says they are investigating the misconduct but didn’t specifically indicate they would survey locations claimed to be decontaminated. Much of the initial decontamination work was done around public buildings including schools.
Many have criticized the government decision to put money into decontamination work instead of helping evacuees. Over 300,000 still reside in temporary housing and the compensation system is horribly slow. Asahi put considerable manpower into this investigation, 130 hours were put in during December 2012. These were clearly not just isolated incidents, they gathered photos, statements from workers and located the illegally dumped debris in multiple cities.
The list of companies caught illegally disposing of debris and other misconduct included some well known Japanese construction companies.
Dai Nippon Construction.
Read more at Asahi Shimbun
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