In Japan, the government is waging war against pollution. The country is one of the?
In Japan, the government is waging war against pollution. The country is one of the world's largest industrial powers, but the massive programme of factory building has brought severe problem as well as a financial boom. Last year the government announced an increase in the annual budget for the protection of the environment, and in Osaka, a new filtering system has been introduced to save one of the city's waterways from industrial pollution.
The Dotonbori River flows through the centre of Osaka. it is actually an ancient man-made canal, fed by the Yodo River which flows out into Osaka Bay. Unfortunately one of the Yodo's tributaries, the Neya River, passes through the most heavily industrialised districts of the city, and carries factory waste into the Yodo, and then into the dotonbori. Faced with this problem, environmentalists devised a water-gate to block the polluted water from entering the canal, which has always been a popular recreation spot for Osaka residents.
The heavy, polluted mud can be easily scooped up once the dirty water has been isolated. The water-gate operates, as this diagram shows, by blocking the waste-laden River Neya before it enters the Yodo. The level of the Neya is lower than the Yodo, so at high tide the new river-gate can be kept open because the Neya cannot flow into the higher waters of the Yodo. But at low tide, the gate is closed because the Yodo is low enough to allow the polluted Neya waters to infiltrate. The industrial waste is then pumped out and passes through a refining plant.
The Dotonbori is slowly becoming clean and pure again. A century ago the water was fresh enough to drink and the canal was full of fish. Gradually, the fish may now return. The citizens os Osaka had been unable to frequent the popular night-clubs and restaurants along the waterfront while the canal was full of waste. Now the Dotonbori can live up to its former reputation of being a pleasant, sweet-smelling, night-spot.