Almost half of the driftage in Okinawa washes ashore on Miyako Islands

July 27, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

On June 25, the first meeting in 2011 of the task force for the seashore rubbish problem (organized by the Okinawa Prefectural Government) was held at the Southern Joint Office of the OPG in Naha City. The members of organizations such as the national government, prefectural government, municipalities and volunteer groups attended the meeting in which they confirmed that they will work on the Okinawa Coastal Cleanup Operation at 33 beaches, including those of smaller outlying islands.
According to a survey on driftage that was reported on in the meeting, it is estimated that 976 tons of flotsam and jetsam washed up on the shores of all of the coastlines in the prefecture during the period from November 2010 to May 2011 (180 days), and in terms of volume, it is estimated that this equates to 11743 square meters. By region, the Miyako Islands end up as a repository for about half of the flotsam and jetsam for the entire area of Okinawa, both in terms of weight and volume.

The task force examined the amount of weight and volume of rubbish washed ashore at 23 beaches in the prefecture from November 2010 to May 2011 and extrapolated the overall situation of seashore rubbish in Okinawa prefecture from this survey with reference to figures from the survey of fiscal 2009.

By region, the Miyako Islands accounted for 460 tons, which is most of the weight. The small islands around the main island of the Okinawa followed at 215 tons, and main island of Okinawa with 184 tons. In terms of volume, Miyako Islands accounted for the most, at 6042 square meters, followed the main island with 2157 square meters, and the Yaeyama region with 1788 square meters.

By type of rubbish, there were large quantities found of plastic and wooden items and expanded polystyrene. By country of origin, estimated from the number of bottles washed ashore, China accounts for the majority of the seaborne rubbish.

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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