Water Powered Electric Generator Affects Marimo!


Above: Hewn logs float down a river flowing into Lake Akan.

Due to the water powered electric plant the lake's water level fell frequently. The electric generator on Akan River was, in those days, the primary source of electricity for the eastern Hokkaido area. Though some debate regarding the protection of marimo versus the production of electricity emerged, public opinion at that time was in favor of the expansion and efficient use of available energy. The majority of people held the opinion that in order to produce electricity, the unique marimo of Japan must sustain slight damage - there was no other option. Many people were of the opinion that using Lake Akan's water to generate electricity would free the available coal, the other source of energy in fair abundance, for other uses. While the desire to use the available natural resources to their maximum efficiency was noble, this way of thinking served to indirectly and adversely affect marimo.

The generator's effects and the marimo's unfortunate state of affairs were revealed in 1950. Visitors to Lake Akan were greeted with a morose sight that spring when countless numbers of dehydrated marimo in the midst of withering death were discovered beached on the shores of Lake Akan.

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