Written records of pollution and environmental problems in Japan can be found from as far back as the 1600s, but it was not until the latter half of the 1800s that such problems arose routinely in connection with economic activities, and that especially in the 1880s when the Industrial Revolution came to Japan. Already in the 1870s the Japanese word for “pollution” had been coined, and by the first two decades of the 1900s it was being used as a catch-all term for air, water, and noise pollution, vibration, unpleasant odors, and other things detrimental to public health. Some of the main instances of prewar pollution were water contamination by the Ashio copper mine, sulfurous acid gas from copper smelting in Besshi, Hitachi, and Kosaka, and air and water pollution in places including Osaka, Amagasaki, and Kawasaki. These and other frequently occurring problems made political waves at that time. Among mainly victimized farmers there was a great deal of opposition and they carried out campaigns for redress, in some cases lasting as long as 50 years.
KeywordsBiological Oxygen Demand Environmental Impact Assessment Environmental Quality Standard Health Damage Minamata Disease
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