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Press Release

Media Advisory: Expert Mission to Japan to Study Post-Disaster Waste Management
02/ 03/ 2012

Media Advisory: Expert Mission to Japan to Study Post-Disaster Waste ManagementUNEP will take part in an expert mission to Japan to study issues surrounding waste management following the earthquake and tsumani that struck the country in 2011.

Tokyo, 1 March 2012 - A year after a massive earthquake and tsunami struck Eastern Japan, killing thousands and destroying cities and villages along the coast of the country's Tohoku region, a group of international experts in post-disaster waste management will head to the affected area on an information-exchange mission with local authorities.

The expert mission, organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) at the request of the Government of Japan, will visit the area to meet with officials, visit waste management and debris recycling facilities, and share information and experiences with people involved in the clean-up effort.

Given the unprecedented volume of debris from the Great East Japan Earthquake, and the efficiency with which the Japanese authorities and communities have responded, UNEP intends to share the methods and lessons learned to help other countries be better prepared to handle debris generated by future natural disasters.

The expert team will hold a media briefing on Monday, 5 March, at the Japan National Press Club, 9th floor, Nippon Press Center Building, 2-2-1 Uchisaiwaicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, at 1.30pm.

Journalists who are members of the press club should register to attend using the form on this link:

Journalists who are not members of the press club but who wish to attend should email: A press card will be necessary to gain admission.

The mission of the eight-member expert team has been organized by two of UNEP's branches: the International Environmental Technology Centre in Osaka, Japan, and the Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch in Geneva, Switzerland.

Members of the expert mission include:

Mr Ronnie Crossland, US Environmental Protection Agency. His expertise is in contingency planning for waste management, on-site assessment, clean-up and debris management.
Mr David Smith, asbestos specialist, UK. His expertise is in disaster waste management, hazardous waste, asbestos assessment and clean-up.
Mr Surya Chandak, from UNEP's International Environmental Technology Centre. His expertise is in institutional issues in waste management, cleaner production approaches, and waste-to-energy products.
Dr Muralee Thummarukudy, from UNEP's Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch (mission leader). His expertise is in post-disaster project management, hazardous and industrial waste management, financial and contracting issues of waste management and contaminated site clean-up.
Professor Toshiaki Yoshioka, from Tohoku University, Sendai. He is a Member of the Government Task Force in Japan for dealing with Disaster Debris.

Notes to Editors:

We hope to have still and video images from the expert mission's trip to the affected areas available for media use from 5 March (sooner if we can). To access these images, please visit
Click the orange login button on the left of the screen, hand side), then enter ID and password. You can choose to view the site in English once logged in.

Use ID: uneptohoku2012
Password: unep120395

Media Contacts:

Moira O'Brien-Malone, UNEP Communications (Paris), telephone +33 1 44 37 76 12, mobile +33 6 82 26 93 73

Julie Marks, UNEP Communications (Geneva), telephone +41 (0)22 917 8478, mobile +41 (0)794 419 937,

Mayumi Morita, UNEP International Environmental Technology Centre (Osaka), telephone +81 (0)6 6915 4581,

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