Tokyo Ward Using Garbage Bags with Herbs to Combat Rats

The Japan News
Tokyo metropolitan government office

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A Tokyo ward began an unprecedented project on a trial basis last month to combat rats, using garbage bags with a smell of herbs.

Chiyoda Ward has faced growing rat problems in recent years, receiving around 200 complaints from residents per year in fiscal 2019-22, a surge from around 50 until fiscal 2018.

The increase may be because “some restaurants do not manage food waste properly and due to a decrease in natural enemies such as crows and cats,” a ward official said. The number of complaints is expected to exceed 400 in fiscal 2023, which ends next month.

A downtown area near JR Kanda Station has successfully reduced the number of rats to some extent between last summer and autumn through strict garbage disposal rules and enhanced cleaning.

In order to prevent the rat population from growing again, the ward teamed up with a group of waste disposal companies to start the model project to use garbage bags with a smell of herbs, which rats are said to hate. The fragrances of various herbs such as mint are blended into the garbage bag.

The project started with four restaurants, having them use the garbage bag and waste disposal firms check whether the bags were bitten by a rat.

“One month has passed, but no damage has been confirmed so far,” an official at the waste disposal firms’ group said.

The project is slated to run until the end of fiscal 2025. The garbage bag “will be introduced to more areas if it proves effective,” the ward official said.