Bicycle Usage in Japan & Marcopper Mining Corporation

Case 1: This case study comes from Colby College, and it takes place in Japan. This is the link to the case study . This case study focuses on the the possibility that bicycles can be feasible form of transportation in Japan. In the later 1960s, the bus system was not working out for the Japanese citizens (due to factors such as being pricey, inconvenient, and slow), thus they took on bicycling. Bicycling became so abundant that there was a bike pollution issue. The government of Japan realized this biking was in favor so their goal was to discourage automobile usage by raising the ownership fees of an automobile. This relates to ideas discussed in the module because the end uses of bicycles as transportation are not only “being in the places that we want to be,” but saving money, promoting exercise, and less CO2 pollution that would harm the environment.

Case 2: This next case study comes from an Environmental Justice Case study from the University of Michigan, and it takes place on the Marinduque Island in the Philippines. This is the link to this case study . This case study focuses on the Marcopper Mining Corporation and how the operations caused various health and environmental problems. Moreover, mining has contaminated the water supply making drinking water scarce and killing fish. This caused people to obtain lung cancer from the “red dust” and become poisoned from the polluted water. Although no solution can diminish the damage, the goal of this case study is to cleanse the environment, somehow make it up to the people affected, and simply guarantee that this will not happen again. This relates to ideas discussed in the module because it shows the downsides of development and environmental justice. The people of the Marinduque Island clearly faced the “environmental bads” of the Marcopper Mining Corporation since toxins were released in the water and the air causing health and environmental problems on their island.

These case studies both connect to the area where I live, Scranton, PA.  Just like in both case studies and many areas around the world, my area has pollution problems, too. The first case about bicycle usage oppositely connects to my area because it is not common to ride bikes for transportation. I think that we should learn from the Japanese and encourage more people to ride bikes due to the many benefits such as reducing pollution that would come from automobile use. As for the Marcopper Mining Corporation, this reminds me of an issue that occurred in my nearby hometown, Throop. Not too long ago (1980s), a company named Marjol Battery (a superfund site) buried batteries and battery casings in a residential area. This resulted with the land and water to become toxic with lead and arsenic. This caused local residents to face health issues such as neurological problems and cancer. Many people in the area had to go for lead blood testing (including myself and my family).  Just like the case study in the Philippines, the health and environmental affects from the batteries could not be undone.