Posted: July 1

Beach Cleaning in Yuhigaura

The Kyotango International Association organizes a beach cleaning event every year to help clean part of Kyotango’s coastline. This year they were cleaning part of Hamazume Beach in Yuhigaura. The beach is about 6 km (3.7 miles) long so they didn’t quite get through all of it.

Why does so Much Waste Turn up on Kyotango Beaches?

The Sea of Japan is fed from the south by the Korea Straight, between South Korea and the island of Kyushu. In the winter the wind from the Sea of Japan turns southward and batters the Japanese coastline with icy north winds and powerful waves.

These powerful currents result in a lot of debris being spread across the Japanese coastline. A lot of it is plastic from Japan and other countries. This makes beach cleaning an important part of Kyotango’s spring and early summer activities.

Types of Waste

A lot of the waste to be cleared off the beach is plastic. Toothbrushes, lighters, bits of rubber tires, small shards of plastic broken off of something larger. But there is also a lot of waste from the fishing or shipping industries. Including ropes used to tie ships and polystyrene buoys.

Why the Need for Beach Cleaning?

Aside from the waste making the beach unattractive to tourists, difficult to use by locals and dangerous to children; there is significant potential for damage to the environment and wildlife.

The plastics can breakdown into smaller pieces as they get tossed around the sea. These pieces then get swallowed by fish, and other sea life resulting in their premature death. Or if they get caught by fishing vessels the plastics can make their way into our food system.

This is especially true of the polystyrene buoys. Which don’t take too much force to break apart into little balls, just the right size for fish to eat.

Beach Cleaning Team

The Kyotango International Association managed to organize about 80 people in all, with a sizable group from the local US Radar Station. Hailing from 9 different countries it was heartening to see such an outpouring of international support for what is an international problem.

After the Clean

It’s good to come together as a community to work towards a project. And by helping to clean the beach makes it a beautiful safe place that can be used by all. Added to that the knowledge that the local wildlife will benefit from it too gives a great sense of satisfaction.