Environmental Restoration and Conservation Agency of Japan(ERCA)

The PCB Waste Treatment Fund

ERCA is charged with the administration of"the PCB Waste Treatment Fund," which is aimed at encouraging the prompt treatment and disposal of PCB wastes.
PCB (Polychlorinated Biphenyl) is a man-made chemical compound. Due to its non-flammability, chemical stability and electrical insulating properties, it had been used in a wide range of products including electric transformers, capacitors, and heating medium of boilers and exchangers. However, it was not until the Kanemi Oil Poisoning case in 1968, a large-scale food poisoning incident caused by PCB contamination of rice-bran oil in its manufacturing process, that its toxicity became widely known as a serious social issue.
PCB production was discontinued in 1972, but the construction of the PCB treatment and disposal plants has been making very slow progress because of local opposition. Therefore, business enterprises have been obliged to keep PCB refuse untreated for a long period of time. Moreover, a significant amount of PCB waste went missing during the long storage period, so the danger of PCB polluting the environment has increased.

As persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as PCB have influence on not only a local but also the global environment, an international regulation on POPs was adopted in 2001 (Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants). In Japan, "the Law Concerning Special Measure against PCB waste" was established in the same year. This law requires businesses to dispose of all the PCB waste by July 15th, 2016. In addition, "the PCB Waste Treatment Fund"was established at the office of ERCA by contributions from the central and local governments, as well as the private sector.
The PCB Waste Treatment Fund provides subsidies to the PCB treatment agencies designated by the Ministry of Environment, in order to reduce the expenses of the treatment operations paid for by small and medium-sized business enterprises. The subsidies are also used to promote reseaches and trainings related to PCB treatment operation( e.g. environmental monitoring, environmental safety).

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