Marine Plastic Waste Problem and Current Status of Beach Cleanup Activities on Tanegashima Island
If you live in Japan, it is difficult to feel the marine debris problem, but if you live on a remote island, the problem becomes familiar.
In particular, plastic trash is difficult to return to nature and does not degrade, so there is concern that in the future the amount of plastic trash will outnumber the amount of fish.
First, let us give an overview of plastic trash among marine debris.
Plastic contributes to the reduction of food loss and improvement of energy efficiency through its advanced functions.
On the other hand, the percentage of plastic used effectively is still low compared to other materials such as metals, and some studies estimate that several million tons of plastic waste are discharged from land to sea annually due to improper disposal.
Amount and breakdown of marine debris on Tanegashima
According to data from the Ministry of the Environment (survey conducted in 2008), the breakdown of marine debris on Tanegashima is as follows.
- 224 pieces of trash per 50 meters (one of the highest amounts of litter in Japan)
- 5% in Japan
- 41% is in China
- 6% South Korea
- 2% other
- 45% unknown
The data shows that Tanegashima Island has a very large amount of trash drifting ashore.
If I am ever transferred to an island, and on days when the ocean is calm, I would like to try to get some data on the analysis of marine dumping.
Local activities related to the marine plastic waste issue and beach cleanup on Tanegashima
The beautiful ocean of Tanegashima Island is behind the "beach cleanup" efforts of local surfers.
The beach cleanups in Minami-Tane Town, where I used to live, are carried out quite often.
Large-scale beach cleanups called for by local governments
This is a beach cleanup activity held once or twice a year and organized by the local government, such as the town office.
In the case of Minami-Tane Town, there are many companies related to rocket launches, so these companies are also asked to participate in the beach cleanup, and the number of participants is very large, including families with their children, and those that return to nature, such as driftwood, are buried on the beach with heavy machinery. The event is also held on a large scale and with overwhelming power.
In addition, because the marine debris collected at this time is disposed of at the expense of the local government, the "garbage disposal problem after picking up" of the participants is mitigated.
As expected of the municipality of Tanegashima.
Beach cleanup organized by local surf community
There is a beach cleanup organized by the local surf community.
The beach cleanup is held about once a month, at a different location each time, and is a cleanup activity conducted by surfers.
Isn't this a wonderful thing? For a few hours, they pick up trash for free, take it home, and dispose of it at their own expense.
The amount of trash dumped in the ocean is so huge that there is only so much that can be picked up by an individual, so it may not have much effect on the ocean as a whole.
I asked the surfer why he picks up trash,
If Tanegashima's ocean is littered with trash, surfers from other parts of the world will think, "Surfers on Tanegashima don't pick up trash?" If the ocean is littered with trash, surfers from other places will think, "Don't surfers from Tanegashima pick up trash? The answer was, "Yes.
I was surprised that he picked up the trash that someone else had thrown away without complaining.
To me, it looked like he had a halo over his head. Surfers all over the world are enthusiastic about beach cleanup activities.
Local hotels and other accommodations are cleaned almost daily
The clean ocean of Tanegashima Island is cleaned of trash every day by nearby accommodations and local residents.
There may be other activities that I am unaware of, but all the garbage collected in these beach cleanup activities is brought back to each house, sorted, cleaned, and disposed of at their own expense.
Surprised by the activities of a pro surfer who came to Tanegashima with the JPSA
There is a worldwide organization called the Surfrider Foundation, which advocates "picking up trash with your other hand while holding your surfboard.
I came to know pro surfers who are practicing this at JPSA Tanegashima.
I was wondering why pro surfers were carrying trash in one hand the day before a competition. I wondered "Why?" but he told me that he picks up even one piece of garbage when he is on an excursion.
Summary of Marine Plastic Waste Issue and Tanegashima Beach Cleanup
The photos of people picking up marine debris are just a small part of the beach cleanup activities, but they show some of the people who are carrying out this wonderful activity on the island.
I feel that all the people who participate in the beach cleanup are divine.
Of course, surfers not only in Tanegashima but also around the world are picking up marine debris, but the amount of garbage dumped into the ocean is so huge that the amount that can be picked up by an individual is limited, so it may not have much effect on the ocean as a whole.
However, I hope that this kind of steady activity will eventually lead to the prevention of dumping garbage into the oceans.
We want to leave a clean ocean for the next generation and the generation after that.
Thank you for reading to the end.