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History of water and environment pollution control in Osaka City

Rapid economic growth

These pictures show Osaka city around 80 and 50 years ago, respectively. Rapid population increase and urbanization advanced during the period of economic growth.

Rapid Economic Growth 1 Rapid Economic Growth 2
Osaka in the 1930s Osaka in the 1960s

Serious water pollution

These pictures show Osaka city around 50 years ago. Serious water quality deterioration was caused by solid waste dumping and direct discharge of industrial wastewater.

Serious water pollution 1 Serious water pollution 2
Osaka in the 1960s  

Sewerage system construction

Sewerage construction in Osaka city began about 120 years ago and was the first large scale modern sewerage system at that time. Since then, the Osaka city government has led at the top level in terms of sewerage system coverage among major cities in Japan.
Recently, an advanced treatment system has been widely applied and the treated water has been reused in various applications in an effort to contribute to restoring the urban environment.

The first sewage treatment plant in Osaka city

In 1925, a pilot sewage treatment plant was constructed in Osaka city and, based on the results, a sewage development plan was formulated. The construction of Tsumori Sewage Treatment Plant, the first sewage treatment plant in Osaka city, began in 1931 and was completed in 1940. It made it possible to treat sewage instead of discharging it to rivers directly. The first Sewage Treatment Plant in Osaka city
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Environmental water enhancement
Osaka Castle moat

Environmental water enhancement Moat of the Osaka castle A large volume of treated water from sewage treatment plants can also become a new resource in the urban water environment. By flowing advanced treated water into rivers that had lost their water resources due to urbanization, a beautiful waterfront environment with the natural sounds of a babbling brook (seseragi) can be restored in urban areas. The same process serves to restore the water level of the moat of Osaka castle.

Serious air pollution

These pictures show the improvement in air quality in Osaka city. Since the 1960s, factories and cars have increased and, sometimes, because of the smog, people had to drive their cars with headlights on even during daytime hours. However, air quality has been recovered dramatically by the diligent efforts that included various approaches.

  Serious Air Pollution1  
  Osaka city at present  
  Serious Air Pollution2  
  Osaka city around 1965  

For further information about environmental solutions in Osaka city

---> Environment Bureau, Osaka City

Incineration plants in Osaka city

The first incineration plant in Osaka city was constructed in 1903.
Solid waste treatment was done by manpower at that time.
Around 80 years ago
Incineration plants in Osaka city1
Neyagawa Incineration Plant
Incineration plants in Osaka city2
Work at an incineration plant

In the 1960s, construction of incineration plants with mechanical furnaces started and the work in the plants was mechanized.
Around 50 years ago
Incineration plants in Osaka city3
Sumiyoshi Incineration Plant with the first mechanical furnace in Japan
Incineration plants in Osaka city4
Crane for waste

At present, not only is waste incineration done hygienically and effectively by using advanced incinerators that are operated automatically, but also the heat from the waste incineration process is reused for power generation.
Incineration plants in Osaka city5
Higashiyodo Incineration Plant
Incineration plants in Osaka city6
Crane for waste (automatic)