Arakawa River in Fukushima rated top in Japanese water quality survey for 10th straight year

The Arakawa River in Fukushima city has been found to have the best water quality among all rivers in Japan, obtaining the country's top rating for the 10th year in a row, the central government said July 1 in its 2019 survey of Japanese river water quality. Only three rivers, including the Arakawa, have been awarded the top rating consecutively for a decade. The survey by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism covered 162 class-A rivers. The survey is based on the annual average rating of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), one of the indicators of water pollution levels. The Arakawa had 0.5 milligram of BOD per liter of water, below the minimum level set by the Environment Ministry, thus placing it on the top river list. Of the 162 rivers covered, 16 in 12 prefectures were recognized as rivers having the top-rated water quality. Besides the Arakawa, the Kawabe River in Kumamoto Prefecture was given the top honor for the 14th successive year while the Shiribetsu River in Hokkaido was honored for the 10th consecutive year in the 2018 survey. A group of residents in Fukushima city has long contributed to environmental preservation along the Arakawa. The group, dubbed the "council for improving the hometown river Arakawa," celebrated the 23rd anniversary of its inauguration this year. Every year, it organizes a "great Arakawa cleanup" involving local companies and residents in a community-wide effort that sees mowing and litter collection along the river. Last year, the group received the environment minister's award of the "Japan Water Prize" in recognition of its broad array of eco-friendly activities, including patrols checking for bank damage and illegal waste dumping as well as environmental study sessions for children. "The Arakawa is an amazing river that runs through great landscapes," said council chairman Toshio Watanabe. "We would like to continue our activities as an organization living in harmony with the river." Echoing him, Fukushima Mayor Hiroshi Kohata said, "We thank them as the award represents the result of constant community efforts for improvement in water quality. We will make further use of such activities for tourism promotion and other purposes." (Translated by Kyodo News)