Desperate measures are being introduced in Japan to combat air pollution. Under a new government?
Desperate measures are being introduced in Japan to combat air pollution. Under a new government scheme, known as the "Green Schools Programme", children from high-risk pollution areas are being shipped into the country so that they can have a few days of fresh air.
More than 600 schools are affected. They've been selected from cities like Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya and Osaka.
Visnews cameraman Kimiaki Tanaka accompanied children from the Oda Primary School in the industrial city of Kawasaki on their trip to the country.
They travelled by coach to a resort in the foothills of Mount Fuji, where they spent three days continuing their school lessons in an open-air environment.
Schools in major industrial cities are now required by law to keep their children indoors when air pollution warnings are issued. This is largely a result of a new kind of pollution--photochemical smog--which strikes particularly at young children.
Our coverage opens with library film of children filmed in Tokyo earlier last month after they had been taken to hospital suffering from headaches, sore eyes and throats--the result of photo-chemical poisoning. The smog is caused by sunlight acting on industrial and traffic pollution.
SYNOPSIS: There's a new menace in the skies over Japan's major industrial cities. It's called photo-chemical smog--produced by the action of sunlight on high concentrations of industrial and exhaust fumes. It strikes particularly at young children, causing headaches, eye and throat irritation, and sometimes convulsions. These were some of the children who were struck down with a bad dose of photo-chemical smog in Tokyo last month.
While the authorities are desperately trying to introduce controls that will curb traffic in towns and industrial pollution, they had to bring in emergency measures to protect children. They're not allowed out of their schools when air pollution warnings are posted.
Kawasaki is another big Japanese industrial city affected by smog. At times it gets so bad that trees are stripped of their leaves. Since the schools can't hold sports or open-air lessons, the authorities have introduced a plan to ship the children to the country for a few days of clean, fresh air.
The Oda primary School in Kawasaki is one of six-hundred schools in Japan affected by the new policy, called the "Green Schools Programme". The government is sending children from high-risk pollution areas to recreation centres in the mountains or beside the sea. These children from the Oda school are leaving for a few days of open-air lessons on the slopes of Mount Fuji, and they're delighted at the prospect of getting out of the classroom for a while.