Severe air pollution brought about many cases of chronic bronchial asthma in Nishiyodogawa War. Most of the victims were the elderly and children, who are more susceptible.
The world’s first system for helping pollution victims was instituted in 1974. More than 7,000 people were certified in Nishiyodogawa Ward under this system, and already 1,600 of them have died.
In 1987 the government stopped certifying new patients, but people continue falling victim even now, as motor vehicle pollution worsens.
|Left: Inpatients and outpatients||Right: A hospitalized child|
Numbers of certified pollution patients
|15 yrs or older||Under 15 yrs|
|Nishiyodogawa Ward||Osaka City||Nishiyodogawa Ward||Osaka City|
1. Figures for each year are as of March 31.
2. According to Pollution Health Damage Certification.
3. Prepared from the various years’ editions of the “Proposal” by the Nishiyodogawa Association for Pollution Patients and Their Families
Testimony: From a Child
Nighttime is scary when I have asthma attacks. The coughing makes my chest and abdomen hurt a lot, and makes my throat bleed.
If I lie down, the coughing continues all night long, so I put down a number of futon and prop myself up on them, cat napping. Because it’s quiet at night, my coughing keeps everyone in my family awake. My mother gets up and rubs my back all night for me. Sometimes it’s so bad that I’ve thought it would be better to die. When the coughing starts, I can’t eat because everytime the coughing starts, I vomit everything up. And because I can’t eat anything when I suffer an attack, I can’t go to school then, either… I’ve made it to the ninth grade through all this.
On June 3 my classmates left for a class trip of four days, but I couldn’t go because the doctor stopped me…
I’m so sad because I can’t do things with the others. At school I always sit off to the side, watching physical education class and athletic meets. I can’t swim in the pool in the summer… I’d like to go on class trips and do things in the train with everyone, like playing cards, singing songs, and talking, but it’s nothing more than a dream to me now…
I imagine there are lots of other people like me, so I’d like automakers to make cars that don’t pollute with their exhaust so people won’t suffer from it.
Please clean up the air of Nishiyodogawa. Don’t do things that make people say, “Oh yea, that’s a really polluted place” when they hear the name “Nishiyodogawa.”
(From Blue Sky No. 27, by Masayasu Yauchi, ninth grade student at Nishiyodo Middle School)
Testimony: From an Adult
I suffered my first asthma attack in 1976, at the age of 27. It felt as if the air had been evaculated from the room, and I could neither inhale nor exhale.
Now I suffer asthma attacks every night. When it happens I have difficulty in breathing, and if I lie down it gets even harder to breathe, so I fold the futon, lean forward against it, and spend all night that way.
Because I’m always short of sleep, it’s as if I’m in a fog, and I don’t have the capacity to think about anything.
The first time I was hospitalized for asthma was when on my way back from shopping in Amagasaki. In the train I started having breathing problems, so I got off at a station and sat down at the entrance to a supermarket. I was taken away on an ambulance that someone called for me. I remember vaguely what happened until they put an oxygen mask on me, but I don’t have a memory of anything that happened after that
Pollution attacked not only me, but also my child. Usually we suffer attacks at the same time. While gasping for breath through tears, my child says, “Mommy, I hurt.” That small hand comes out to me, but there’s nothing I can do for her. At times like that, I feel painfully sorry.
I had always dreamed of running around playing with my child when she was small, and traveling with her when she got bigger. But those dreams have been shattered by our pollution-induced illnesses.
(By Hisame Okazaki in Nishiyodogawa Pollution Lawsuit Plaintiffs and Counsel News No. 1, September 29, 1994)