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Home > Outline of Japan's Industrial Pollution Abatement > Approaches to Water Pollution Control (Case Study-2) Minamata City, Kumamoto Prefecture > (4)Learning from the History of Minamata Disease

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Update:April 1, 2010

(4)Learning from the History of Minamata Disease

4.Approach to Environmental Regeneration

The total amount of expenses paid so far by Chisso, the national government, Kumamoto Prefecture, and Minamata City to overcome Minamata Disease amounts to approximately 150 billion yen, which is composed of compensation money and health damage benefit for patients and fishermen, and pollution control operation expenses (See Table 3-4), On the other hand, the amount required for Chisso to construct an effluent treatment facility was only 40 million yen. This fact obviously shows that it cost much less to prevent pollution than to restore environmental condition once destroyed by human activity.
Almost 37 years have passed since the official identification of Minamata Disease, however, the problems have still not been completely settled. Environmental destruction impairs not only human life and health which are irreplaceable but also destroys ecosystems and local society which is difficult to restore even after a long time. Minamata Disease was a typical example of the above fact.
At present similar industrial pollution as Minamata's has been coming up in developing countries aiming at economic growth. The troubled history of Minamata is expected to be helpful to such countries in preventing pollution before its occurrence.