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The World Capital of Sustainable Development

From a 'Gray City' to a 'Green City'

In the 1960s, Japan achieved rapid economic progress, in which Kitakyushu developed into one of the four largest industrial zones in Japan. However, the air and water were polluted; Dokai Bay was highly contaminated by industrial and domestic wastewater. This environmental pollution progressing to such an extent that the bay was called the 'Sea of Death.' However, residents, enterprises, research institutes and governmental agencies were united in the task of overcoming the pollution.
In 1971, prior to establishment of the Environmental Agency by the national government, the city of Kitakyushu founded the Environmental Pollution Control Bureau (currently the Environmental Bureau). The City established 'The City of Kitakyushu Pollution Control Ordinance,' which was more stringent than the national laws - in addition to other regulations - and enforced a series of effective measures against major companies in the city, including the execution of agreements to prevent pollution. In addition, we drove forward a large-scale urban greening movement in accordance with the 'Green Kitakyushu Plan.'
These measures to prevent pollution and preserve the environment, together with residents' environmental protection efforts, yielded good results, considerably improving Kitakyushu's environment. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) introduced Kitakyushu's improved environment to the world as the example of city transformed from a 'Gray city' to a 'Green city'.

Smoggy sky (1960s)
Smoggy sky (1960s)
Blue sky restored (present day)
Blue sky restored (present day)
Dokai Bay once called ‘Sea of Death’ (1960s)
Dokai Bay once called the ‘Sea of Death’ (1960s)
Dokai Bay regained its original beauty (present day)
Dokai Bay regained it's original beauty (present day)

Contributing to the world through environmental preservation technologies

The City of Kitakyushu is engaged in diverse activities to improve the environment by making use of the City's experience and technologies in pollution control, energy efficiency improvement, knowledge accumulated through the process of overcoming past severe environmental contamination. Moreover, through international cooperation, the City has accepted 4,052 international trainees in total (as of March 2005) from 143 countries, and has dispatched specialists to other countries. These efforts to overcome pollution and engage in international cooperation on environmental matters have been highly appreciated throughout the world. Kitakyushu City received the 'Global 500 Award' from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1990. In 1992, it received the 'UN Local Government Honours' during the 'United Nations Conference on Environment and Development' (UNCED: Earth Summit) held in Brazil. In another of its noteworthy activities, the City contributed to environmental improvement in Dalian City, China, one of Kitakyushu City's friendship cities, by adopting 'The Dalian Environmental Demonstration Zone Plan' as one of the ODA development surveys and by advancing improvement efforts through the plan. As a result, Dalian City has also received the UNEP 'Global 500 Award' in 2001.

Received 'UN Local Government Honors'
Received 'UN Local Government Honors'
Signing ceremony for 'The Dalian Environmental Demonstration Zone Plan'
Signing ceremony for 'The Dalian Environmental Demonstration Zone Plan'

Aiming to Become the World Capital of Sustainable Development

We are actively hosting international conferences and seminars on environmental problems in order to educate developing countries in regard to environmental improvement or to offer specific technological guidance. In September 2000, the 4th Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP/MCED4) was held in Kitakyushu. The 'Kitakyushu Initiative for a Clean Environment' was adopted at that MCED, and in 2001 the Kitakyushu Initiative Network was founded. By January 2006, 61 cities from 18 countries in Asia and the Pacific Region had joined the network and are exchanging information and carrying out pilot projects.
Many government officials, NGO members, students and others concerned in this city participated in the 'World Summit on Sustainable Development' (WSSD: Johannesburg Summit), which was held in Johannesburg in the Republic of South Africa in 2002 to advocate the importance of international cooperation. It was officially accepted at the WSSD that environmental improvements led by respective regions are significant for the environmental preservation of those regions, and the 'Kitakyushu Initiative' was incorporated in the 'Plan of Implementation' of the Johannesburg Summit as a leading-edge initiative.

Johannesburg Summit
Johannesburg Summit

For fostering environmental industries- the Kitakyushu Ecotown Program

The tremendous increase in wastes due to mass production, heavy consumption and mass disposal has become a worldwide problem. In view of this situation, the City of Kitakyushu has drawn up the 'Kitakyushu Ecotown Plan,' which emphasizes the promotion of environmental and recycling industries; was approved by the national government in July 1997. The aim of the Ecotown Program is to 'Sse all waste as material for other industries, reduce waste as much as possible (zero emission)' and foster a resource recycling society.
The Kitakyushu Ecotown Program implements specific projects such as the recycling of electric appliances, automobiles, plastic bottles and other recyclable wastes, mainly in the Hibikinada Area in northwestern Kitakyushu. Furthermore, many facilities conducting research and development on the most advanced waste disposal and recycling technologies, with the cooperation of enterprises and universities, are located in this area; this effort is expected to generate new environment-related industries. In addition, we are advancing the program through a wide range of efforts, including implementation of the 'Policy of Kitakyushu Industrial Eco Complex' to recycle resources and energies and generate new industries as citywide activities, through the use of industrial infrastructures in the city, with the cooperation of the organizations concerned, and the promotion of environmentally conscious activities in all of the city's business circles.

Kitakyushu Ecotown
Kitakyushu Ecotown
Recycling electric appliances
Recycling electric appliances

Uploader:

International Policy Division,
General Affairs and Planning Bureau,
CITY OF KITAKYUSHU
1-1 Jonai, Kokurakita-ku, Kitakyushu 803-8501 JAPAN
Tel: 093-582-2146
(International Calling +81-93-582-2146)
Fax: 093-582-2176