At OIST we regularly visit the local beaches in Tancha to clean up the waste that can often be found there.
Okinawan beach trash
Onna-village office provides beach cleaning bags that we fill with the sort of trash that litters the beaches of Onna, Okinawa and all the beaches of the world. Much of the trash that is found on beaches across the Ryukyus come from Taiwan and mainland China. However, it is very common to find trash that has come from Okinawa and the rest of Japan.
We mostly clean up our local beach in Tancha but we plan to do trips to other beaches that desperately need cleaning.
We try to visit the beach once every two-weeks on a Monday but we will also go before and after a typhoon if we think that it will wash a lot of trash into or out of the ocean.
We bring gloves, beach cleaning bags and a lot of energy to the beach. We try to seperate the trash so that it can be more easily recycled or incinerated.
Certain man-made products such as plastic do not degrade naturally, so remain in the ocean for a very long time. These products can directly kill marine creatures by entangling them or by being eaten. Indirectly plastics break down into microscopic pieces called Micro-Plastics which attract toxic chemicals and enter the entire ocean food chain. At the top of this food-chain are us humans, who unknowingly eat seafood that contains toxic plastic.
Ruth Thompson was the driving force behind OIST's beach cleaning activities in Okinawa. Although she has moved on from OIST in order to protect animals all around the world, she still cares about Okinawa and we at UMI want to see her initiative continue and grow.