Fireflies returning to Kawachi RiverKumamoto, Japan
Purification of Kawachi River, Kumamoto city and Ariake Sea
Kawachi town, located at distance of about 30 minutes ride from the center of Kumamoto city, is surrounded by mountains and the Ariake Sea, and is well known as a tangerine and seaweed farming town). Kawachi River nearly divides Kawachi town into north and south, and is a 6 km-long class B river. During the period of high economic growth the river became polluted, littered with discarded garbage, and no longer did we see any children playing in the river. In this situation, in 1993 the Women’s Association of this town started separating trash for recycling, and reducing garbage using EM Bokashi, declaring “We would like to preserve the beautiful Kawachi town for the children of the future!” Since 1995, they have been active in treating household wastewater with activated EM and in 1997, they launched the “Seseragi Group (seseragi means murmuring brook) and aimed to enhance their activity. The water quality of Kawachi River has improved every year since, increasing awareness of the people in town. Now sweetfish, clams and fireflies have returned, and the river has become an ideal place for children to encounter nature. Now fireflies appear regularly and in June every year a firefly festival is held and always draws great crowds. In addition, the river is now clean, and the consciousness of fishermen has changed because of the abundance of clams and high quality seaweed. Fishermen are very grateful saying, “We are receiving most of the benefits from your activities.” The women’s division of the Fisheries Cooperative is also actively utilizing EM and working on purification of the Ariake Sea.