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Sponsored shellfish to save polluted river

A polluted Japanese river could be cleaned up by sponsored molluscs.

An Osaka resident wants to grow pearl-producing freshwater shellfish to naturally filter the city's waterway.

As the pearls grow over the next four, years the results will be sold as Dotonbori River pearls.

Yasuhiro Suchi, a member of a local residents' action group, came up with the idea after trying to organise a swimming event in the river.

The Japan Times reports he will use the "ikecho-gai" Bivalvia mollusc from Lake Biwa to filter the water and grow the pearls.

So far, 800 people have signed up for the 5,000 yen (26) deal.

Mr Suchi said: "By paying money for their own pearls being grown in the Dotonbori, the owners care for the river and, hopefully, the water environment in general.

"Because the pearls take four years to grow, the owner's interest in the water environment will last just as long, I hope."

Last updated: 08:54 Tuesday 19th February 2002
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