Civil action

Published: Wednesday 30 June 1999

a civic group in Japan, which filed a lawsuit against the Takarazuka municipal government in Hyogo province, demanding that it suspend operation of a garbage incinerator, tentatively agreed to the local government's proposed reductions in dioxin emissions from the plant. During mediation at the Kobe District Court, the Takarazuka government promised to carry out maintenance work on the incinerator that would limit dioxin emissions to the maximum permissible level of 0.1 nanograms per cubic metre of air. In December 1997, a regulation was introduced stipulating that newly constructed incinerators capable of disposing of four tonnes or more of garbage a day should emit no more than 0.1 nanograms of dioxin per cubic metre of air.

However, existing incinerators with the same disposal capability may emit a maximum of 80 nanograms per cubic metre of air a day until the end of November 2002, after which new regulations will require them to cut emissions to one nanogram. A ruling on the suit, the first in the nation concerning dioxin, will be settled on July 7.

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