A beach of pure white sand extending for as far as the eye can see... Such a landscape is one fine example of particularly Japanese natural scenery. Kotohiki Beach, which has long been known as a place of picturesque scenery seems like something out of a painting. Many visitors reach the beach in Kyotango, part of Kyoto Prefecture, facing the Sea of Japan. Besides the views, Kotohiki Beach is also distinctive for its "Singing Sands." When you walk along the beach, the sand emits little squeaks. The sound comes from vibrations caused by grains of sand rubbing against each other. Without the ocean washing the sands clean, however, the beach would not sing.
Local volunteers have been working to conserve the environment at Kotohiki Beach for more than 30 years. They have regularly organized cleanups and awareness-raising campaigns, but the severity of the marine debris has become greater in recent years. The trash that rides the ocean currents in summer and drifts into the Sea of Japan gets pushed onto Kotohiki Beach by the seasonal winds of autumn and winter. Fishing gear such as nets and bobbers, along with medical waste like syringes, are also a problem, but the overwhelming majority of the trash is plastic.
The threat from ocean plastic waste is now a serious problem. A survey is conducted regularly to analyze the text printed on lighters to determine where the marine debris originates. The results indicate that over 70 percent of the garbage at Kotohiki Beach comes from nearby countries. Although cleanup efforts by residents have preserved the beach's scenery, due to the nonstop inflow of trash the root cause of the problem cannot be addressed.