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Rain or Shine: Beach Clean Up A Success!

By: Elena Sinnemaki

Date Posted: 2000-04-29

The light showers and clouds didn’t dampen the spirits of the hundreds of community members who came out to Chatan-cho to clean up the beach this past Easter Sunday. By 9am the seawall was crawling with people who carried trash bags full of cans, bottles, cigarette butts and all other kinds of debris.

Each year, whether it is sponsored by the Okinawa Clean Beach Club or a private organization, there is a day set aside where Americans and Japanese alike hit the beaches and surrounding community to pick up as much of the trash that has accumulated over the past year as possible.

As early as 8am there were divers suiting up for the underwater clean up. They all donned the usual - wetsuits, gloves, BC’s, and tanks; but this time they carried along a few net bags that they would use to carry as much trash out of the ocean as possible. One gentleman admitted that it was a great way to get a good dive in while doing his part to help clean up the waters he so frequently dives. There was also a dive class of about 10 students who were able to get some training done while helping with the underwater clean up effort. Kadena Marina also did their part by loaning out air tanks at no charge for this event.

After one dive, Bryan Gray, Tim Paulin, and Dale Brown pulled up so much trash that they ended up making two additional trips to the deep to get as much trash out as they could. In the end, they wound up with three large trash bags full – and they were pretty proud. “You wouldn’t believe the junk we were coming across down there,” Tim Paulin told Japan Update. “Lighters, cans, old anchor ropes and fishing nets. We even found a child’s plastic necklace like the ones they give out at Mardi Gras wrapped around some beautiful coral.” The divers carefully cut old ropes, nets, and the necklace out of the coral and carried it all along with the bundles of trash they collected back to the shore to be thrown away properly.

Another small group of divers from the 44th Fighter Squadron on Kadena A.B. came out to Chatan, as they do each year, to also get a good dive in and to give a bit back to the community. Ken and Dawn Berge and Jeremy Sinnemaki collected everything from plastic bags and glass to tennis shoes and baby toys. “It was a little cold in there, but it was worth it,” they all agreed as they tried to dry off get warm. The rest of the 44th’s group was scattered around the seawall picking trash out of the breakers and the gutters. Nate and Shelly Dunn toted 7-month old baby Nathan around while doing their part. “It’s a great way for us to spend Easter Sunday as a family while doing something that will benefit everyone,” Shelly explained. “We’ll definitely do it again next year!”

As it neared noon the crowd was thinning out. Local residents sat around offering tea and water to the volunteers while smiling and thanking them for coming to help out. The language barrier was not an issue as the smiles being exchanged between all were proof that Beach Clean Up 2000 was a success.

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