Japan: Satellite to watch for illegal dumping

reduce illegal dumping of industrial waste, the Environment Ministry
has started to use an Earth observation satellite to monitor areas from
space, it was learned Thursday.

[earsc.eu] The Iwate
prefectural government has begun experimentally receiving relevant
satellite data and has given administrative guidance to companies that
have illegally dumped industrial waste.

Iwate’s success has
prompted the ministry to decide to use satellite data to clamp down on
illegal dumping of industrial waste nationwide.

The ministry
plans to make use of the observation satellite in fiscal 2009 together
with prefectures that want to use the satellite.

satellite, called Daichi, is one of the world’s largest Earth
observation satellites. It was launched in 2006 by the Japan Aerospace
Exploration Agency for the purpose of creating detailed maps and other

Daichi can take photographs at resolutions high enough
to distinguish objects as small as 2.5 meters in diameter. The cost of
a one-time image capture use of the satellite is 200,000 yen, one-tenth
to one-eighth the cost to use a U.S. commercial satellite for the same

Since January 2008, the Iwate prefectural government
has been employing a system developed by Iwate University that allows
it to create color photos based on satellite data.

With the
help of the satellite, which detects changes on the ground, including
the accumulation of industrial waste, the prefectural government can
closely watch remote areas that are difficult to monitor from the

Using the satellite, the prefectural government has
been able to uncover several dumping cases in which companies illegally
expanded their waste disposal sites. Local governments have issued
these companies administrative guidance to rectify the situations.

Source: http://www.earsc.eu/news/satellite-to-watch-for-illegal-dumping