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Tag Archives: China

As Waterways Choke on Plastic, Japan Soft-Pedals on Waste

If you’ve ever shopped at a Japanese supermarket or convenience store, the sight of fruit, cookies, pastries, and other foods individually wrapped in plastic isn’t surprising. It’s part of a mountain of single-use plastic products, from bento lunch boxes to oshibori towelettes in plastic wrappers, that underpins the lives of Japanese consumers.

Silent Autumns: Pesticides Push Japan’s Iconic Red Dragonfly to Extinction

The mesmerizing sight of the aki-akane, meaning ‘autumn red’ dragonfly, is a traditional symbol of autumn in Japan’s rice farming landscape. However, the species has been rapidly disappearing in recent years and has now nearly vanished over most of Japan. The reason, according to scientists, is the increased use in rice farming of a class of broad-spectrum insecticides that have been the subject of bans in the European Union and China.