Association of mothers submits petition to eliminate harmful substances in water to OPG

Association of mothers submits petition to eliminate harmful substances in water to OPG

Association of Mothers Requesting Safe Water representative Ai Yamamoto (third from the right) appealing to the people about “eliminating harmful substances (from tap water),” taken in the afternoon of May 29 at the Okinawa Prefectural Office.

May 30, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo

Following the discovery of hazardous substance in tap water, filtration plants, and water sources, a group of women alarmed by the situation established the “Association of Mothers Requesting Safe Water.” The source of the pollution is suspected to be the U.S. military bases stationed in Okinawa.

On May 29, representative Ai Yamamoto held a press conference at the Okinawa Prefectural Office Journalist Club. Seeing how the water contains substances potentially harmful to human health as a problem, she said, “We cannot help but say (that the current situation) is unacceptable.” On the same day, the association submitted a petition to the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) requesting to eliminate harmful substances from the water.

The association questions how the water is deemed “safe because (the contamination levels) are lower than the U.S. standards” even though organofluorine compounds, such as PFOS, PFOA, and PFHxS are found in the tap water. Organofluorine compounds are carcinogenic and can potentially impair development in unborn children and infants. On May 25, the association was established in hopes of demanding safe water from the standpoint of residents that protect and raise children. As of May 29, more than 100 individuals and groups support the association.

The petition requests actions in three stages: 1) immediate countermeasures, 2) medium-term countermeasures, and 3) long-term countermeasures. The immediate countermeasures requests that the OPG notify residents in suspected areas of tap water pollution, and to advise people to avoid using the water for drinking and for making formula milk. The long-term countermeasures demands OPG increased access to U.S. military bases suspected of being the source of the contamination.

(English translation by T&CT and Chelsea Ashimine)

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