Keep tabs on Lake Biwa water

It was with great distress that I read the Sept. 19 Kyodo article “Cesium-tainted wood chips found near (Lake) Biwa.

My family and I spent much time around this area swimming and camping and enjoying beautiful Lake Biwa. However, the loss of a favored campsite and swimming spot is quite insignificant compared with the overall ramifications of this incident .

Lake Biwa is the main reservoir for drinking and household water for millions of people in the Kansai area including Shiga, Kyoto and Osaka. Any incident that effects the quality of this water supply should be taken very seriously and investigated thoroughly.

Will the perpetrators be found and prosecuted? Will the government remove and dispose of this contamination speedily and properly? Will the authorities test the water supply for contamination, and can we even trust them to tell us the truth if contamination occurs?

Alas, the culture of irresponsibility so prevalent here leads me to doubt that anyone will be held accountable for this. Just as in the ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster, no one will be held accountable and little action will be taken.

I urge The Japan Times to follow up on this story, find out who is responsible for the illegal dumping and keep tabs on the quality of the water supply for the millions who consume Biwako water.

Sadly my faith in the integrity of the system to honestly investigate and report to its citizenry is lacking when the prime minister tells outright lies to the world about the true situation at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

alex trouchet

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

  • Starviking

    In the article concerned, the chip had cesium levels of 3,000 bq/kg. Given that there were between 200 and 300 tons of the wood chips dumped that would give a total cesium isotope level of between 600,000 to 900,000 bq.
    Given the volume of Lake Biwa, 27.5 km cubed or 27,500,000,000,000 litres you would have to consume over thirty million litres of Lake Biwa water before encountering a radioactive cesium atom – if the cesium from the wood chips were all mixed in to the lake’s water.
    There is more risk from the natural polonium-210 we find in our sea fish.