Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Eco Aware

Being one of the world’s largest industrial economies means that you’re always going to have to deal with one of the world’s largest amounts of industrial waste and pollution. There have been many initiatives in Japan to deal with this problem.

Perhaps one of the most pressing environmental issues of the late 20th century was the problem of greenhouse gases and carbon emissions. It was in Japan that the famous Kyoto Protocol was discussed and put into action. Since its adoption in 1997 there have been various undertakings in Japan towards meeting the protocol’s requirements.

Last year the Japanese government initiated the “Eco Points Program.” This was a program that gave consumers incentives to buy environmentally friendly electrical appliances. Incentives came in the form of “eco points” that could be exchanged for either discounts or cash-back chances. Traditionally environmentally unfriendly appliances, such as air conditioners and refrigerators, often earned the highest amount of “eco points.” The program was due to end this year but the government has decided to extend the program into the New Year. Not only has the program helped reduce Japan’s overall carbon emissions, but it has also proved to be a great stimulus for the electrical appliance industry.

Toyota is also the producer of the Prius hybrid car. The Prius is a common site on Japanese roads. It is now also the world’s most popular hybrid engine car. Other Japanese auto makers are stepping up the competition with numerous hybrid models of their own.

Finally, still on the subject of automobiles, the world’s first hydrogen fuel-celled bus service is set to start in Tokyo this week. Travellers to and from Tokyo’s Haneda airport will be able to use the environmentally friendly bus service from Shinjuku or the Tokyo City Air Terminal.

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