Japan Current Affairs - 2019
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According to Japanese scientists, delicate mosses found on rocks and trees in cities around the world can be used as low-cost bioindicator to monitor urban pollution and to measure the impact of atmospheric change.
As a bioindicator, mosses respond to pollution or drought-stress by changing its shape, density or disappearing. This characteristic will allow scientists to calculate atmospheric alterations and air pollution.
Mosses are a common flowerless plant found in all cities especially in damp (humid) or shady locations. It generally absorb water and nutrients from their immediate environments, so it can reflect changes to ecosystems. So it can be used as potential bioindicators.
In the study, Japanese researchers studied the effect of nitrogen pollution, air quality and drought-stress on moss. They found that drought-stress tends to occur in mosses found in areas with high levels of nitrogen pollution, which has negative impact on health and biodiversity. It can be cost effective and important for getting information about atmospheric conditions especially effect of nitrogen pollution and air quality in urban area.
Okinoshima Island, Japan’s men-only island was declared as a UNESCO world heritage site. The island will be the 17th set of Japanese cultural assets to be granted this status and overall 21st in the list.
The island is part of the prefecture’s Munakata region. It is located in south-west Japan between the main island of Kyushu and the Korean Peninsula in the Sea of Japan (East Sea). It still follow strict taboos from ancient times, including the controversial ban on women from entering the island
Okinoshima Island is an ancient religious site in Japan that is considered sacred by the local Munakata Taisha. Entries of women are strictly banned on the island. Even male visitors need to take off their clothes and take a naked bath (purifying bath) before visiting the shrine.
It is permanently manned by a Shinto priest who prays the island’s goddess, in a tradition that has been kept up for centuries. The entire island is considered a Shinto Kami, an ethnic religion of Japan that focuses on ritual practices to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present-day Japan and its ancient past. Kami are the spirits or phenomena that are worshipped in the religion of Shinto.
The island covers an area of 240 acres and has a maximum elevation of 244 m. Since ancient times, it was an important window for foreign trade in Japan, forming part of a trade route that linked the archipelago to the Korean peninsula and China.