• Kyodo

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A plant in Kagawa Prefecture began detoxifying 500,000 tons of illegally dumped industrial waste that had drawn nationwide attention by triggering high levels of dioxins and other toxic substances in surrounding areas.

The waste on Teshima Island is being dealt with at a plant on nearby Naoshima Island, both in the prefecture. The operation comes nearly three years after local residents and the Kagawa Prefectural Government settled a decades-old dispute under a deal proposed by the central government in June 2000.

About 150 people, including Kagawa Gov. Takeshi Manabe, attended a ceremony marking the start of operations at the processing plant, which has been built within a smelting works complex of Mitsubishi Materials Corp.

The plant will burn the waste together with 165,000 tons of contaminated soil at extremely high temperatures to detoxify them. The byproducts will be converted into recycled products, such as concrete aggregates.

It is expected to take more than 10 years to clean up all the waste.

The waste will be shipped from Teshima to Naoshima on a special ferry that will deliver 300 tons each day with two round-trips.

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