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Marines help clean up Tengan River

Date Posted: 2003-12-25

GUSHIKAWA CITY, Okinawa, Japan Marines from Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division aboard Camp Courtney, and local Boy and Girl Scouts and local nationals from Okinawa Plant Kogyo (subcontractors for Gushikawa's electric supply) combined forces to clean portions of the Tengan River in the city's 15th Annual Tengan River Cleanup Dec 7.

"The cleanup went very well today," Hiroshi Nakasone, chief, Tengan Sub-Village, said. "This is an important activity between the base and city to maintain friendship. We appreciate the participants here today."

The river is cleaned annually to prevent flooding caused by increased rainfall during typhoon season. Each time the river floods, debris from the city is deposited into the river.

This past year, parts of the city near the river were flooded with nearly one meter of riverwater, causing a greater amount of pollution, explained Nakasone.

"The event was organized to show the community we work in that we care and respect them," Col. David A. Kelly, camp commander, Camp Courtney, said. "We want to do our part to make this a great place to live, just like we do in our communities back home."

Several hundred Okinawans worked along the river clipping grass and shrubs, while Marines were tasked with clearing grass clippings and garbage along the river's bank and removing fallen trees and larger trash that had been washed into the river.

"I think it shows that Marines will go out and have the willingness to help the community in any event," LCpl. Erik W. Green, network administrator, Communications Co., Headquarters Bn., 3rd Marine Division, said.

Marines and locals lined up with armfuls of debris to deposit into garbage trucks that waited to be filled with the waste that once polluted their river. The trash was sorted and disposed of properly or slated for recycling.

"The best part about the cleanup was the interaction between Marines and locals," said Green. "Even though we can't communicate well, we still have the opportunity to work well together."

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