I am a little surprised by the Nov. 15 editorial “ Ocean awash with tsunami trash.” It states, “Of course Japan did not intentionally toss the waste into one of the main sources of its food supply.”
Yes, the garbage washed away by the tsunami was unintentional, but trashing nature is nothing new to Japan. As a surfer, I spend hours every year cleaning up beaches, other coastal areas and river banks littered with debris, mostly plastic.
In a country with few garbage cans, it is common for people to throw trash anywhere. I am constantly cleaning up after people because, as an American, I treasure nature. Last week, as I was picking up a can and some food wrappers from my front yard, a car drove by and a PET bottle was thrown out into the rice patty across the road. Guess who picked that up? One day, when I went to the beach, there was so much trash it looked as if public garbage had been dumped into the water too close to shore. I don’t think that any law will get passed in Japan to clean up the water even though it is a main source of the nation’s food supply. Japanese will just fish in foreign waters where there are fishing seasons and plenty of fish.
The only way to curb the garbage problem is with money. Japanese are frugal in a good way. If a bottle, can and PET bottle deposit system were implemented, we could see some actual change overnight. Then maybe my neighbors would stop burning their PET bottles and aluminum cans. First step’s first.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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