Artificial turf is on the increase on playing fields, but also in school yards, children’s playgrounds and private gardens.
Plastic green space has attracted attention as a source of large amounts of microplastics, but it is not the only problem.
PFAS (organofluorine compounds) have been found in groundwater and river water in many parts of Japan above the national provisional guideline values and have become a social problem.
It has been pointed out that PFAS is also leaching from artificial turf.
Furthermore, the filler (rubber chips) used to make artificial turf elastic also contains substances that are carcinogenic and have an environmental hormone effect. Despite calls for a ‘plastic-free’ society, the number of dangerous plastic products continues to increase.
Members of the CUJ steering committee held a meeting to exchange opinions after reading “Food is not a Commodity – Healthy Life for the Future” by Takeuchi Naokazu, the 1969 founder of Consumers Union of Japan.
The title of this book expresses well the thoughts of Mr. Takeuchi, who was involved in the activism consumer movement in the 1970s. This was an age of environmental pollution when Japan was known as the “pollution archipelago.”
CUJ was vocal in criticizing corporations on issues such as food, cosmetics, and detergents.
Takeuchi’s book also describes the “pillars of our movement,” such as the non-political approach in terms of each individual theme, and the fact that CUJ receives no support from corporations, and that we are financially independent through membership fees and subscriptions.
As a student at the time, I first met Mr. Takeuchi at a rally for the Anti-Nuclear Week 1977. In response to the local struggle to prevent nuclear power plants from being built, Mr. Takeuchi advocated a joint anti-nuclear action by consumer groups and residents’ groups in Tokyo, a major consumer of electricity.
In the more than 50 years since the formation of Consumers Union of Japan (CUJ), I frankly feel that we have done very well to continue our activities to this day with the support of our many members.
Our consumer movement refuses to accept anything that hinders peace and threatens our lives and livelihood.
I am convinced that we must continue to pass this message on to the next generation over the next 10, 20, and 30 years…