PM2.5, which are particulate matters less than 2.5 microns, are perhaps the most important type of environmental air pollution in Asia. Driven by high economic growth, coal plants, particularly those from China, give off these particulates. The problem is so serious that Korea and Japan are directly affected by this pollution. In fact, these matter are able to travel across the Pacific Ocean and contributed to a large part of the pollution in North America.
In spite of the political posturing taking place between Japan and Korea and China, the governments are actively working to address this challenge. Hosted by Ministry of Environment of Korea, the Environmental Ministers Meeting among Korea, China and Japan at the end of this April to implement an initiative on enhancing environmental cooperation and dialogue. The meeting resulted in a communique that was signed by Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara, Chinese Vice Environmental Protection Minister Li Ganjie and South Korean Environment Minister Yoon Seong-kyu at the end of their two-day talk in the South Korean city of Daegu. Under the agreement, Japan and South Korea will offer technical assistance and support to China for the import, development, production, and deployment of technology for reducing the volatile organic compounds (VOC) that are PM2.5.
A simultaneous Business Forum was held in which 50 (21 delegations and 29 observers) participants from the three countries participated in the meeting. Japanese representatives introduced corporate activities related to reducing CO2 emission, and products that are energy- and resource- efficient. Concepts such as the Smart House and Communities were shown with model sites in Japan and China shown. One Japanese company introduced solutions and actual activities for water pollution management while a Chinese company shown activities in the “venous” industry such as solid waste resource, urban mining and hazardous waste disposal. The Korean representatives introduced their concepts of water / waste water treatment plants, biological treatment, landfill reclamation, and waste sorting and recycling, etc.
In one of the panel discussions, the participants discussed the roles played by the governments in waste management and how that differed from the role of private environmental businesses. They also highlighted the technology developed and used on water reuse in Northeast Asia and how these can be utilized in other countries. In addition, the role of government in landfill management was emphasized and how governments should play a role in this aspect of the environment.