Facts and Statistics

Freshwater mussels are being used to clean up dirty rivers in Japan. Capable of cleaning 180 liters of water a day, the Ikechogai mussels clean the water by consuming diatoms and other phytoplankton that feed on nitrogen and phosphorus. Although the water quality of some very dirty rivers’such as the Dotonborigawa River in downtown Osaka, where the mussels have been used—has improved the water is still not clean enough to swim in. Some of the mussels produce pearls.
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In March 2008, clams were taken from Tokyo Bay for the first time in 40 years. The restoration of the clamming industry which ceased in 1969 because of water pollution and other reasons is a sign that the water quality in Tokyo Bay is improving.
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The Kyu-Otagawa River, which flows through central Hiroshima, for a long time was mainly known for its contaminated water, sludge and foul smell. That is, until a few years ago when the river was dramatically cleaned up using “infiltration pillars” made from used coal ash from power plants which decomposes noxious sludge, gets rid of bad smells and makes the water clean enough to be inhabited by a variety of water creatures such as crabs and freshwater clams.
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