Problems which affect the whole earth, such as global warming and the depletion of the ozone layer, problems which have an effect beyond national borders like acid rain, hazardous waste dumping in other countries, and even the pollution of the oceans, the depletion of rain forests and vanishing wildlife, are all growing on a global scale.
In addition, among both developing countries and countries with economies in transition, the rapid rate of industrialization and population growth, together with the concentration of population in urban areas, has aggravated pollution problems, such as atmospheric pollution, water contamination, hazardous waste and noise/vibration pollution.
Recognizing that these kinds of environmental problems need to be addressed on a global scale beyond any one nation's borders, the international community has established the common goal of protecting the global environment.
In this context, the United Nations Environmental Programme/International Environmental Technology Center (UNEP/IETC) was established in Osaka and Shiga for the purpose of transferring environmentally-sound technologies to developing countries. UNEP/ IETC handles the general environmental management of big cities and the environmental administration of freshwater reservoirs.
Supporting UNEP/IETC is one of the most important international contributions that Japan can offer in the environmental field. The Global Environment Centre Foundation (GEC) was established to support of the activities of UNEP/IETC-Osaka in transferring of technologies for comprehensive environmental management in big cities, as well as international cooperation. In addition, GEC aims to be a vehicle for the collection and dissemination of technological information of Japan, which has overcome industrial pollution problems and oil crises by developing resource- and energy-saving technologies. GEC's aim is to contribute to the protection of the global environment, starting from conservation of the environment in developing countries.
Working jointly with GEC, UNEP/IETC together with the UNEP Industries and Environment Office in Paris are compiling a database of technological information on major areas concerning urban environmental problems such as air and water pollution, the disposal of urban generated wastes and so forth, and aims to be fully effective in disseminating the information.
Recently, the Committee for Studying Transfer of Environmental Technology was established in the Global Environment Centre Foundation, and has evaluated the expertise and technology accumulated by environment-related companies in Japan, together with the consideration of issues concerning the transfer of environmental technologies to developing countries. These efforts result in the publication of "Waste Treatment Technology in Japan."
It will be my great pleasure if this work was able to be used widely by people engaged in solving pollution problems in developing countries as well as by people in Japan and overseas who are participating in international cooperation. It is my sincere hope that this work will be used as a resource to strengthen the basis for international cooperation in this field.
I would like to express my sincerest thanks to Professor Nobuo Takeda, Chairman of the Committee for Studying Transfer of Environmental Technology, and all members of the committee whose considerable efforts were involved in the editing and publication of this work.
Nobuaki Kumagai, President
Global Environment Centre Foundation