Get ready for 29th Annual International Coastal Cleanup

By E. Heinrich-Sanchez

Everyone is invited to join the world’s largest volunteer effort for “OUR OCEANS” and waterways by participating in the 21st Annual Ryukyu Cleanup as part of the International Coastal Cleanup in collaboration with the “Let’s Do It” World Cleanup and the “Clean Up the World” Campaign. September 20th 21st is the Ryukyu Cleanup Weekend.

The cleanups continue and you can participate from September to the third Sunday in November. We ask that simple data be collected at your cleanup as citizen scientists.

We encourage families, clubs, and organized groups to adopt a favorite beach or dive spot, download a Marine Debris Data Card from our website, and then register the cleanup by taking the pledge on the “Sign up to Cleanup”. Local municipal regulations apply and vary slightly from location to location so please send us an e-mail at http://www.okinawaocean.org for local specific information

The Professional Association of Dive Instructor’s (PADI) Project A.W.A.R.E. is the underwater partner for the International Coastal Cleanup. Check with your local Scuba Locker, Tsunami Gear or Kadena Marina.

In Okinawa the cleanup is promoted as the Ryukyu Islands Cleanup and coordinated by the Okinawa International Clean Beach Club since 1992 with support from the NPO Okinawa Ocean Culture and Education Action Network (World O.C.E.A.N. NGO) with its headquarters at Cape Maeda.

In Okinawa since 1992, we have promoted the third Sunday as “Clean Beach Day” in support of the Okinawa Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (OCVB) monthly 22nd Keep Okinawa Beautiful campaign.

The Okinawa Clean Beach Club will be on standby at the Cape Maeda Marine Conservation Station No.1 ( Cape Maeda Visitor’s Center) with bags and gloves from 8:00 – 12:00.  For any other times, ask Cape Maeda Station staff for bags and gloves. Signs will be in place for trash locations.  Trash needs to be separated into glass and metals, and most everything else would be classified as burnable. Plastic PET bottles in good condition can be recycled. From Cape Maeda, there are cliff side paths to the south three gorgeous beaches which are an important sea-turtle nesting site.  Parking coupons will be provided to volunteers. Overflow parking will be farther north at the Maeda Divers’ House http://www.maedamisaki.com

Please take this opportunity to register your group in the Okinawa Clean Coast Network (OCCN) managed by the 11th Division Headquarters of the Japan Coast Guard.

“Ocean trash truly is a global problem that affects human health and safety, endangers marine wildlife, and costs states and nations countless millions in wasted resources and lost revenue,” said Andreas Merkl (after last year’s cleanup), Ocean Conservancy’s president and CEO. “At its core, however, ocean trash is not an ocean problem; it is a people problem – perpetuated by the often unwitting practices that industry and people have adopted over time. But I am convinced we can solve it if we have the audacity to confront the problem head-on.”

After years of cleanups, I believe that although “The more we clean, the more trash there is.” It’s time that we take a systems approach towards finding a way to prevent trash from getting into the ocean. Beach cleanups are the symptom of our unsustainable lifestyle, education for a sustainable future starts today. ”We need to guarantee the right of our children to grow up on clean beaches.

Lots of trash comes from China. I have been invited to speak at the “Third World Ocean Conference” in China next October. My registration and reception fees have been waived but I still need sponsorship for airfare and accommodations So, sponsors welcome. E. Heinrich-Sanchez, Chief Navigator of World O.C.E.A.N. and co-founder of the Okinawa International Clean Beach Club.

In June, (led by Secretary of State John Kerry) the Department of State hosted the “Our Ocean” Conference. We brought together individuals, experts, practitioners, advocates, lawmakers, and the international ocean and foreign policy communities to gather lessons learned, share the best science, offer unique perspectives, and demonstrate effective actions. We continue to chart a way forward, working individually and together, to protect “Our Ocean.”

 http://www.state.gov/e/oes/ocns/opa/2014conf/index.htm

We truly hope that we can prevent further damage to “Our Okinawa Ocean” and restore its natural resilience.   Present coastal plans for Okinawa need to be re-thought in order to stop loss of important habitat. Litter we can pick up, but landfills into the ocean mean permanent and irreversible damage.  Contact: edo@okinawaocean.org