Essay on Ranger: Prefectures of Japan and Japan

Submitted By rangerdan2
Words: 8813
Pages: 36

ARTICLE REVIEW Chemical aftermath: contamination and cleanup following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Dan LaPrad Emergency Management 20 November 2012 Did Japan do enough to protect the First Responders and clean-up personnel? This article was written after the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that spawned the tsunami that devastated the coastline of Japan. It is critical of the protective measures that were provided to the First Responders and clean-up personnel that responded to that disaster. It covers the multitude of hazardous materials and chemicals that were released and spread out over the countryside, up to five kilometers inland. The author questions whether the Japanese government and the businesses themselves were had mitigation and recovery plans in place in the event of a catastrophe such as this, even-though they knew that they were in an area that was prone to earthquake activity. The article was aimed at research scholars as the GaleGroup is a publishing house for academic books and articles. The article seemed to point to the fact that none of the affected businesses had a disaster plan much less a recovery plan. It brought out many different types of companies that had waste and hazardous material stored in the open or in places that were very vulnerable to the events that occurred. It also was very specific about the fact that the clean-up workers were working in an environment that was polluted with numerous chemicals and hazardous materials that were either released form the storage or holding areas of the businesses but also during the tsunami was picked up from the ocean floor and deposited back on land. These materials ran from a range of asbestos, dichloropentafluoropropane (which can react violently with strong reducing agents and can react with strong oxidizing agents and with air under extreme temperature), and radioactive materials from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to oil products release when automobiles were inundated by the tsunami. The earthquake also sparked many gas and oil fires in the interior of the country which contributed to the air pollution and particulates that are in the air. A lot of the hazards that are involved with the clean-up and hazardous to the personnel are the fact that many of the hazardous chemicals and substances were mixed together as a result of the tsunami and earthquake. This has created an extensive problem especially due to the fact that many of the first responders went into these areas without the proper training and proper protective clothing. Some of these personnel were only wearing cotton gloves and paper masks. Access to damaged buildings and damaged industrial areas was almost non-existent, so that not only workers but the general public could come into contact with the materials that were present in these areas. Volunteers in the affected areas were given very little safety training and many times had to furnish their own personal protective gear or go without. The Japanese government did not do any testing in the affected areas as it was their custom that the towns and cities had the responsibility of taking care of this for their citizens. The government has not publicly reported, as of the date of this article, any specifics of the types and quantities of chemicals and hazardous materials that were released during this event. This compounds the clean-up efforts and puts the workers in greater danger. The problems that were previously discussed have severely hampered the recovery efforts of the citizens. Another problem in this area is not knowing exactly what they are dealing. The PRTR or Japans Pollutant Release and Transfer Register which is their equivalent to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxic Release Inventory does not regulate any company that has less than twenty employees, even though they may handle large amounts of toxic chemicals. Also companies that store but do not release