Fukushima's Arakawa River gets top water quality rating in Japan for 11th straight year

Photo taken July 1 shows the Arakawa River in Fukushima city, given the top water quality rating in Japan for the 11th year running

The Arakawa River in Fukushima city has been awarded the highest rating in water quality among all rivers in Japan for the 11th year in a row, according to a central government survey for 2020 released on July 1. The survey was taken by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism covering 159 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, the minimum reporting level set by the Environment Ministry. Of the 159 rivers surveyed, 18 in 10 prefectures, including the Arakawa, were recognized as rivers having the top-rated level of water quality. The Kawabe River in Kumamoto Prefecture was given the top honor for the 15th successive year, the longest national record. A group of residents in Fukushima city, dubbed a "Council for Improving Hometown River Arakawa," has organized "a great Arakawa cleanup operation" every year together with local community members. The operation includes mowing and litter collection along the river. "It is only thanks to efforts by local residents that water quality is retained," said council chairman Toshio Watanabe. "We would like to continue our activities altogether." "We thank them for their steady daily efforts," said Fukushima Mayor Hiroshi Kohata, echoing Watanabe. "We will make use of such activities for exchanges among communities and town-building." (Translated by Kyodo News)