Whose trash is this?
This is a very important question we have to ask ourselves. On August 27th 2013 I decided to go to a beach on Tsunoshima Island and collect 100 pieces of trash to answer this question.
To conduct my research I randomly selected 100 pieces of trash with identifiable writing on it. I then categorized the trash in three separate sections (Japan, Korea, and Other) using white plastic bins. The other section included predominately China and Taiwan but also other countries.
After I finished my research I found that 69% of the trash was identified as Japanese, 12% was identified as Korean, and 19% was identified as other. The largest items were from Japan, which included a motorcycle helmet, raft and car jack. It was obvious that the car jack was dumped on the beach. To confirm this I placed it in the water to see if it could float, it did not.
Here is the exact location I did my research
Here is what I found when I first arrived
The trash separated into three plastic bins. The right is Japan, middle is other, and the left is from Korea.
When I first started this project, many Japanese as well as those residing in Japan were keen to point the finger elsewhere in regard to beach trash. When I questioned people about beach trash, the most common scapegoat was often South Korea. Because I personally cleaned the beach twice and handled hundreds of pieces of trash, I knew that this was not the case. This research is my attempt to inform people that, first and foremost, beach trash is a Japanese problem. I do agree that support from the international community is necessary, including Korea, China, Taiwan, and America, but it must be spearheaded here in Japan.