Sustainable Tourism in Japan - innovation & inspiration

Ocean Clean-up Volunteering in Japan

Communities across the world are working together to create positive changes in the local environment- one easy way to do this is volunteering to take part in clean-up activities aimed at taking plastic waste out of the waterways. There are organized efforts happening across Japan in the warmer months and InboundAmbassador is organizing clean-ups each month in Hiroshima. If you are in the region, please join us!

Plastic trash in our rivers and oceans are getting worse each day and has even reached the bottom of the ocean. As reports from around the world come in regularly, we can no longer deny that plastic is a problem. It’s not just the plastic ocean patch, but the reality that plastic has entered the food chain that really needs to be addressed by the government and corporations to make effective change. We need to write to the companies we depend on as well as our government reps to demand meaningful change.

In the meantime, although the problem is huge and daunting, motivated residents and visitors can be a part of the solution by choosing to buy products with less packaging, as well as recycling and reusing whenever possible. It can also help mentally and physically to lend a hand by filling a bag whenever you see plastic trash and debris along waterways to make sure it is disposed of properly. Another idea which is growing in popularity worldwide is to join organized waterway clean-up events. Removing plastics from the waterways alongside likeminded individuals is always a worthwhile effort.

Starting in May of 2018, InboundAmbassador/GetHiroshima have been organizing regular beach clean-ups in Hiroshima. At first, I focused on two key beaches which had easy access and were particularly struggling with plastic pollution: Etajima island’s Sun Beach Okimi and Miyajima island’s main beach. The beaches around the Hiroshima area are littered with degrading plastic tubing and styrofoam which washes ashore from the oyster farms and fishing industry in the Seto inland sea.

At the most recent clean-up in March 2019, we logged the type of debris and weight of the garbage that was collected by ten volunteers in a period of two hours along a central riverbank in Hiroshima city. A total of 6 kg (13.2 lbs) of recyclable glass, steel, and aluminum cans, and 47.5 kilograms (105 lbs) of plastics that cannot be recycled were collected. Most of the plastics and styrofoam was embedded in the mud, grass, and sand making it hard to get out.

River and Ocean CleanUps in Japan

At this point in our world’s history, no matter where you visit or live, plastic pollution and degradation of plastics in our oceans is a massive problem that our convenient consumer culture has made us all responsible for. Despite Japan’s international image of being fantastically clean and tidy, plastic pollution alongside rivers and oceans is a problem here.

Volunteering to pick up plastic trash from the beaches and riversides in Japan is quite an enjoyable experience as it is a few hours in the beautiful outdoors alongside like-minded members of the community hoping for positive change.

Clean-up activities are regularly held throughout Japan by the Kanagawa Coastal Environmental Foundation which include Beach Clean-Up Activities by a variety of volunteer groups cleaning up the Hayama Coast in Zushi (Miura Peninsula). Monthly clean-up activities held along this coast by the Ocean Family NPO. The SurfRider Org Japan lists clean-ups in Japan and abroad. The most comprehensive listings are available on theJapan Environmental Action Network JEAN which regularly updates lists of waterway and beach clean-up activities across Japan.

In Hiroshima, there is a clean-up held every month as a part of the InboundAmbassador sustainable-business model. Monthly event listings, updates, and reports can be found on the InboundAmbassador and GetHiroshima facebook pages in addition to this website and the GetHiroshima website.

Inbound Ambassador organizes waterway and beach clean-ups on the 3rd Sunday of every month if weather conditions allow). Rain and clouds won’t stop us but any severe weather warnings Keihou) due to Typhoons or storms will- safety first!
This video shows the activity and interviews with participants from the March 2019 riverside clean-up activity in Hiroshima city.

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