Web Japan > Kids Web Japan > Archives > Monthly News > Water

November 2003

Kids Hold Meeting to Talk About Water Issues

Declaring the follow-up meeting open. (Foundation of River & Watershed Environment Management)

Water is something we can't live without. But serious environmental problems are affecting water all over the world. In March 2003, 109 children from 32 countries, including Japan, gathered to discuss these problems at the Children's World Water Forum. The forum was held in Shiga Prefecture, which is home to Japan's largest lake, Lake Biwa. The participants reported on water issues in their countries and discussed what they thought about these issues.

The Japanese participants were shocked to learn that in some parts of the world drinking water is hard to come by, and that, because of this, there are many children who cannot go to school or who become sick from drinking bad water.

group discussion
Holding a group discussion. (Foundation of River & Watershed Environment Management)

How can problems like these be solved? In Japan, the children who attended the forum said they wanted to have more in-depth discussions on water problems around the world and that they wanted to form a network to tackle water issues. As a result of their ideas, the Children's World Water Forum Follow-up was held in Hiroshima from October 11 to 13.

The children did much of the planning, and 53 students - 38 in middle school and 15 in high school - came to attend the conference from across Japan. They talked in six separate groups about themes like "playing at the river" and "water quality," and they thought about how they could raise awareness of water issues among the general public.

A group presents its findings. (Foundation of River & Watershed Environment Management)

Yamashin Yoshihiko, an eighth-grade student from Hiroshima Prefecture who has been surveying the water quality of the Seno River near his home since 2002, remarked, "The water [of Seno River] is pretty clean, and you can swim and fish there. But I still see a lot of cans, bottles, and other garbage floating in the river, so I'd like to make the water cleaner." Yoshihiko said that he plans to continue surveying the water quality next year.

Participants line up for a commemorative photo. (Foundation of River & Watershed Environment Management)

Endo Yui, a ninth-grader from Shizuoka Prefecture, reported on the Children's World Water Forum that was held in March. "In Japan, we take for granted that water comes out if we turn on the tap. But in Africa, there are people who have to spend half a day going out to collect water," she noted. Yui was the student council president at her school during the first half of the school year, from April to October, and she explained how she had created opportunities to talk about the importance of protecting aquatic environments at every school event. "I will continue doing what I can to help people understand the importance of water," she said.

NOTICE: Since October 9, 2003, Japanese names in Kids Web Japan have been written in their original order: surname first.

News Top