Japan has long managed to keep its streets spotless despite having no trash cans in sight, but cities are now turning to “smart” bins as tourist numbers — and the amount of garbage — surges.
This week, the tourist-heavy Dotonbori district in Osaka installed around 20 new technologically enabled garbage cans called SmaGO. Solar panels allow the trash can to automatically sense when it's getting full and then compress the garbage by about 20%. It's also connected to a smartphone app that analyzes data on garbage volume and sends alerts to workers before it fills up.
“Some local governments are finally starting to realize that there's little else you can do other than provide trash cans,” said Yohei Takemura, chief executive officer of startup Forcetec, which distributes the SmaGO in Japan. “There are also more people saying that they would like to experiment with garbage cans to see if it will make their cities cleaner.”
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Following the 1995 poison gas terrorist attack by the Aum Shinrikyo cult in Tokyo, waste receptacles disappeared from many public spaces in Japan, though they can now be found in heavy-traffic areas like major train stations. Maiko Kimura, town beautification manager of the Environment Bureau of Osaka, said the city completely removed them as a way to deal with overflowing garbage and resulting complaints from citizens.
But with the number of inbound tourists officially surpassing pre-pandemic levels last month, trash is becoming more common on Japanese city streets. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida launched a policy package on overtourism last month that even includes a subsidy for smart trash cans, in addition to other measures such as promoting lesser-knownRead more on tech.hindustantimes.com