TOTTORI – Broken furniture and other household debris are piling up in the wake of Friday’s magnitude-6.6 earthquake in Tottori Prefecture, and municipal governments are struggling to deal with the mess.
Residents have been leaving broken electronic appliances at temporary waste disposal sites despite government requests not to do so.
On Monday, an 80-year-old farmer in the town of Hokuei made four trips to a local athletics field designated as a temporary waste disposal site to truck in broken glass and other damaged items.
“My house is fine, but I can’t live there without cleaning up the mess,” she said.
In Hokuei, Friday’s temblor registered a lower 6 on the Japanese intensity scale of zero to 7.
According to the Tottori Prefectural Government, 417 houses were confirmed to have suffered damage from the quake. Four were destroyed or severely damaged, while the others lost roof tiles or sustained cracks in walls.
Household debris, including broken dishes and electric fans, is piling up at temporary waste disposal sites set up by municipalities.
In the city of Kurayoshi, such waste surged from 50 cubic meters Saturday to 185 cubic meters Sunday.
In the nearby town of Yurihama, 100 to 200 people have brought their waste to their local disposal site daily.
Officials in Hokuei said they have not been able to even grasp the amount of accumulated waste because they are swamped with disaster relief work.
Local governments have not allowed residents to bring electronic appliances to temporary disposal sites because such items must be properly recycled.
But that has not deterred people from leaving broken appliances. In Hokuei, nearly 10 TV sets have been discarded at a disposal site.
An official of a private-sector waste disposal company contracted by the Hokuei Municipal Government to dispose of disaster debris griped that the firm doesn’t have enough manpower to prevent the disposal of banned items.
The municipalities of Hokuei, Kurayoshi and Yurihama plan to dispose of the disaster waste together, triggering concerns that it will exceed the capacity of a common disposal facility.
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