Date of Award

Winter 2006

Project Type


Program or Major

Natural Resources: Environmental Conservation

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Theodore E Howard


Many countries, especially industrialized countries, are facing a crisis in municipal solid waste (MSW) problems due to its ever increasing amount and related problems such as limited dumping space, transboundary waste movement, financial pressures, and dioxin problems. In Japan, one of those industrialized countries, while national MSW policies have not appeared effective, some municipalities have established remarkable policies to reduce MSW Minamata-city, which has a unique experience of environmental pollution, known as Minamta-disease, has reduced waste with the two major MSW policies: a Recycling Program; and the Food-containers Abolition Project of the Women's Committee on Waste Reduction, based on the tragic history. Through the assessment of the two policies in Minamata-city case study, I found the most important factors for a successful policy process in MSW management are: (1) participation of all stakeholders; (2) face-to-face discussion; and (3) power sharing by leading organizations in the decision process. Other factors such as: (4) level of crisis; (5) environmental consciousness; (6) problem orientation and goal clarification are also important. Therefore, to improve the policy process on MSW management issue in a community, professionals can suggest that decision makers and leading organizations have face-to-face discussions with all stakeholders and to share the power with them in the early stages of the decision process. As a basic concept, connectedness of the whole environment must be considered in the design of a MSW management program.