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Coastal cleanup group to mark anniversary with campaign

Date Posted: 2010-03-04

This year marks the International Coastal Cleanup’s 25th Anniversary, and it’s just in time for the 19th I Love Okinawa Campaign, a move to get some badly needed help in cleaning up Okinawa’s beaches and fix up some coastal areas.

The group is mapping out unsightly hot spots for on-going cleanup, and a reporting system is being developed to better coordinate relief in processing tons of debris that washes up on Okinawa shores. In April the cleanup effort will get a boost with the start of the Regional Green New Deal as a part of the government green funding of more than ¥780 million for local municipalities.

The campaign kicked off on Coral Day (March 5) with a schedule of monthly cleanups led by the Ryukyu Islands ICC Coordinator. Main cleanups take place in June and in September.

Marine debris sickens, injures and kills wildlife, while toxic materials from plastics leak into the ocean. The plastic breaks down, but does not decompose, creating a plastic soup in the Pacific Ocean that affects ecosystems and ultimately, food supplies. NPO Okinawa O.C.E.A.N. and the Okinawa Diving Safety Council, have been appointed to advise Okinawa Prefecture with a two-year program, while O.C.E.A.N. will also sit on a steering committee for the Quasi-National Park Area from Cape Maeda Marine Conservation Station No. 1 in Onna Village.

The marine debris processing model has been developed over the past several years and implemented in Ishigaki and Iriomote islands, led by the Yaeyama Environmental Network in cooperation with the Okinawa Clean Coast Network (OCCN) managed by the 11th Division Headquarters of the Japan Coast Guard.

Programs will continue throughout the year, and volunteers can sign up for the My Beach/My Reef Okinawa Adopt-a-Beach Program. Information is available by email from kiyan@okinawaocean.org, or the website http://www.iloveokinawa.org.

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