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Know-how in purifying Lake Biwa can save a World Heritage site!―Ha Long Bay in Vietnam

   Urban infrastructure has been actively exported by advanced local governments in Japan to developing countries. Namely, the water quality improvement project in Vietnam that is jointly promoted by the Shiga prefectural government and the private sector has attracted attention. Ha Long Bay, a world natural heritage site in the northern part of Vietnam that suffers from serious water pollution is now facing the risk of cancellation of its registration on the World Heritage list. With know-how learned in purifying Lake Biwa, which has been promoted since the late 1970s, the project is determined to help improve water quality in Ha Long Bay.
 In Ha Long Bay, registered as a world natural heritage site in 1994, a multitude of islands of varying sizes creates a wonderful and powerful scenery. A limestone plateau spreading from Guilin in China at the north end has repeatedly precipitated, and with the progress of erosion, the current appearance of the bay was created.
   About 2 million tourists from around the world visit Ha Long Bay annually. However, domestic waste water is drained directly into the bay without being purified enough, which has led to serious water pollution. If the pollution continues at this rate, the registration of the bay on the world heritage list could be cancelled.
 In this situation, on Cat Ba Island, the largest island in Ha Long Bay, the “Cooperative Support for Establishing a Cooperation System toward Water Environment Improvement on Sightseeing Cat Ba Island,” a project proposed by the members of the “Shiga Water Environment Business Promotion Forum” (consisting of Shiga Prefectural government, companies, universities, and other organizations) to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), was unofficially decided to be adopted.
   In Shiga in 1977, a freshwater red tide occurred in Lake Biwa. After one of the causes of the red tide was found to be phosphorus contained in synthetic detergents, the “Soap Campaign” began, in which residents themselves took the initiative in stopping the use of synthetic detergent and instead using powdered soap.
 In 1980, the Lake Biwa Ordinance was enforced, which incorporated a ban on the sale, use, and exchange of gifts of synthetic detergent containing phosphorus for household use, and regulations on industrial effluent water that contains nitrogen and phosphorus. Through such efforts, know-how in observing the regulations and technologies of environmental purification have accumulated in companies and universities in the prefecture.
   The know-how learned in purifying Lake Biwa is expected to be used in the case of Ha Long Bay, a closed water area.
Ha Long Bay, one of the world's natural heritage sites
Cat Ba Island, which attracts tourists from around the world (Provided by Shiga prefectural government)
Contact : Commerce and Industry Policies Division, Department of Commerce, Industry, Tourism and Labor, Shiga Prefectural Government
Phone or E-mail +81-77-528-3712
Website http://www.pref.shiga.lg.jp/f/shokokanko/mizukankyobusiness/index.html