In the wake of Japan’s nuclear disaster triggered by the quake and tsunami on March 11, decontamination efforts by the Japanese government have been at an unprecedented scale both in its extent and financial impact.
While decontamination efforts of the government aim to reduce or eliminate radiation and make Fukushima livable again, experts say it can also cause environmental problems.
The Ministry of Environment previously approximated about 15 to 31 cubic meters of contaminated soil and debris will need to be disposed. For the month of January, the Fukushima government is targeting at least 1,000 sq km of land for cleanup which means spraying buildings, scraping off contaminated soil and removing fallen leaves and plants.
Japan’s central government is mainly responsible for the decontamination of areas within the 20-kilometer radius from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and those areas which exposure to radiation is estimated to exceed 20 mSv in a year.
Japan is divided by groups who have different views on the current cleanup efforts. Activists groups like Greenpeace are urging the government to expedite the decontamination. While there are those who believe that Fukushima is already safe to live in, many doubt the success of decontamination efforts and believe the government should spend on the relocation of residents. Many residents still remain fearful of going back to their homes and farms.