Asaza Project

Introduction for Asaza Project 1

Go to Google Maps and input "36N 140.4E". Now you will jump to the Lake Kasumigaura Change the image to the satellite version, zoom up and move along the lakeshore. You will notice there is straight part and vegetated part along it before you make one round of the lake. This is the great achievement of Asaza Project.


<Photo1>
Source: Google-Imagery, DigitalGlobe, and Zenrin, Google Maps,2006: http://maps.google.com

The Lake Kasumigaura has 250km lakeshore and once this lakeside was covered with vegetation. From 1970 Ministry of Construction began bank revetment and covered most of the lakeshore with concrete to meet the rapidly growing water demand of the Tokyo metropolitan area. This project took 25 years and cost 290 billion yen. The lakeshore vegetation, which had offered self-cleansing mechanism and breeding site for plants and birds, disappeared and the lake eutrophicated. Blue-green algae bloomed in vast area every year in summer since 1973 and a lot of living beings are killed because of the lack of oxygen. It caused great damage to fishery. The catch of fish of 1978 was 17,487t. Now it is only about 2,000t.

Mr. Iijima, the director general of the NPO Asaza Fund, started the vegetation restoration activity from 1995. He cast a spotlight on floating plant Nymphoides Peltata (in Japanese asaza) water plant blooming a yellow flower.
In the lakefront hardened with concrete, waves reflect and are strengthened, then wash away sand of the bottom of a lake. This is why the lakeshore vegetation had disappeared.
Spending two years from 1993, Mr. Iijima had made a total of 4 rounds walk trip around the lake. He noticed that reed bed still remained if there were asaza vegetation in front of it. Asaza weakens wave of lakes and protects the slightly left vegetation lakeshore. (See the Picture1 below)

He founded the NPO Asaza Fund in 1995 and started the vegetation restoration activity. Since then, a total of 130,000 people joined this project.
#How could this project attract so many people?
#Who are the main actors of this vegetation project?
Can you imagine? This is the question for you by the next release. Try to think of it.


<Picture 1> How to restore the lakefront vegetation


<Photo 2> Not restored Area.


<Photo 3> Restored Area.

You can see the lakeshore is covered with reed bed. like the photo 2, the lakeshore vegetation was once lost in this district. Now the concrete lakefront is under the soil.

Introduction for Asaza Project 2

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