Rise in temperature associated with climate change is said to accelerate dryness in mountainous areas and forests, making them prone to forest fire which triggers air pollution and adversely affect the health of people in a wide range. Loss of forests also accelerates collapse of ecosystem, impairs food production base due to the impact on food chain and transformation of harvest environment as well as extinction of plants and animals as a resource for pharmaceutical supplies. Shabondama Soap Co., Ltd. developed soap-based extinguishing agent without synthetic surfactant agent, an eco-friendly yet high-performance fire extinguisher using natural (soap-origin) surfactant. The soap-based extinguishing agent is a foam mixed of water and air that performs quick fire extinction with less water consumption as compared to purely water-based fire extinguisher. Curbing loss of forests associated with climate change serves as adaptation measure in the field of health and sanitation, food security, agriculture and stronger food production base.
Shabondama Soap was founded in 1910 as "Morita Hanjiro Shoten" (Shabondama Soap Co., Ltd. since 1987). Since 1971, the Company produces and sells additive-free soaps containing no chemical or synthetic additives. In 2001, upon request from regional fire department in Kitakyushu recognizing the need for fire extinguisher with consumption of less water, which was triggered by the lessons learned from the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake where damaged water pipelines aggravated fire disasters, the Company launched a joint development project with the University of Kitakyushu and commercialized the soap-based fire extinguishing agent, which has been in the market since 2007.
Soap-based extinguishing agent is mainly made of less-poisonous soap. It not only dissolves fast but is also friendly to ecosystem as its surfactant vanishes upon combination with naturally-abundant minerals such as calcium and magnesium. It is a rinse aid product when used in building fire and highly credited for having no need to be washed away. In 2007, the product was awarded an award by Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications for its distinguished achievement in academic-industrial collaboration. It also attracts much attention as a potential contributor in forest and peat fire in vast land of Southeast Asia, Russia and Australia.
Forest fire in dried peat land is extremely hard to put out and lasts long due to its high content of carbon. Indonesia, where almost half the world’s tropical peat land belongs to, is named “Global Powder Keg” and forest fire poses a strong threat to the country. Shabondama Soap conducted a study and demonstration project in 2013 under JICA program to demonstrate fire extinguishing agent for peat land in Indonesia, started its sale in 2015 for major local supplier of fire extinguishing machinery and materials and also conducted market study in Indonesia with the support of JICA. The Company strives to conserve the habitat of plants and animals through measures against peat land haze hazard caused by forest fire in dry season, and protection of forests by means of fire extinction. The Company eyes the possibility of local production in future.