Amami Oshima Has Faced a Marine Debris Problem

Hello everyone! This is Seiya.

Today, I’ll write about a global issue—the problem of marine debris. I live near the beaches facing the East China Sea in Amami Oshima. The East China Sea in Amami Oshima faces north, so the beaches are beautifully clean during the calm summer. However, in winter, a lot of garbage washes ashore carried by the north wind. Although citizens volunteer for garbage cleanup, but even after making it clean, the area becomes littered again within 2-3 days.

Winter brings a spread of debris along the coast of Amami Oshima.
Debris collected by volunteers along the coastline.

Various items like plastic bottles, fishing gear, candy wrappers, and more are littered around. Among them, microplastics are particularly troublesome. These are tiny fragments of plastic, making it almost impossible to pick up every piece. Moreover, it poses a significant threat as sea turtles and fish often mistake it for food.

Microplastics scattered along the coastline of Amami Oshima.

Tourists likely visit Amami Oshima for its beautiful sea and beaches. However, in some places, the beaches are unfortunately filled with garbage.

This is not only a problem unique to Amami Oshima but is happening worldwide. Is there a solution? Unfortunately, at present, there is no effective method to completely eliminate marine debris. Nevertheless, by being a bit more mindful in our daily lives, we can contribute to gradually solving this issue.

Action ①: Avoid the use of disposable plastic products. The simplest way is to carry a reusable bottle. Unfortunately, the awareness of this in Japan is low. Personally, I carry a water bottle and provide drinks on tours using boiled water from my own bottle.

Reusable water bottles used for tours and private purposes.

Action ②: Take your trash home to dispose of it. While outdoor trash bins are available, it’s preferable to take your trash home to avoid situations where bins may tip over or animals scatter the garbage.

Action ③: Pick up trash if you see it. Have you ever walked down the street and seen litter? If you notice it, pick it up. By picking up one piece of trash, you contribute to reducing waste on our planet.

There are many other things we can do in our daily lives. Let’s make an effort now to ensure that beaches in 100 years won’t be littered with garbage.

Yadori beach in Amami Oshima