The habitat of the Japanese crested ibis, one of the nation's special natural treasures, is improving on Sado Island thanks to new technology for cleaning contact lenses.

To let the birds feed on water creatures, farmers on the island in Niigata Prefecture have been leaving their rice fields submerged even during winter. However, this means they cannot clear out leftover rice straw, which subsequently interferes with rice cultivation.

To address this problem, Nagoya-based contact lens maker Menicon Co. used its stain removal technology to create a substance to accelerate the decomposition of rice straw. Since the substance can simply be sprinkled on rice fields, it encourages more farmers to leave them flooded after harvest.