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Vacationing Zamami students tackle local beach cleanup

Date Posted: 2007-09-05

Summer’s over for Japanese youngsters, and school’s back in session.
For Zamami Island children, the vacation was memorable, as they not only had fun, but found an educational opportunity in protecting beaches famous for turtles laying eggs. Beach cleaning day was August 23rd, and hundreds of kids turned out to join with residents and tourists in tackling mounds of debris littering the less than pristine beaches.
Turtles migrate to the Zamami Island beaches each year to lay their eggs. Once hatched, the fledgling turtles make their way back to the ocean, but many die because of obstacles in their path. Hundreds of pounds of bottles, plastic, cans, fishing tackle and plastic bags litter the beach, blocking the way from the turtle nests to the water.
Takenobu Kakihama, Zamami Chamber of Commerce Chairman, says “This year a lot of turtles laid eggs, and we hope a lot of those babies will make it back to the ocean alive.” He sadly complains “many adults leave bottles, plastic bottles and cans after parties, and the small turtle babies can’t crawl over the garbage to get to the water.”
Kakihama says the cleanup event was well done, and the beaches are now clean for the turtles’ safe passage. What still bothers the community leader, though, is how to answer the kids’ question of ‘Why do adults leave a lot of garbage’.

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