SUNABE NORTH STEPS, Okinawa --
Members of the local and military community gathered for a beach cleanup May 26 at Sunabe North Steps, Okinawa, Japan.
The cleanup raised awareness of the ocean's condition as well as showed divers the impact they can make by picking up trash that has made its way into the water.
“There is trash collecting in the middle of the ocean and it’s killing wildlife,” said April Dahn, a Professional Association of Diving Instructor hosting the cleanup. “It’s effecting everything in our ecosystem, so we are trying to get out there to make a difference by collecting some of the trash and being more of a solution to the problem.”
The event was hosted by owners of Mermaid Island Diving, Scott Dahn and April Dahn. The two adopted a local dive site to keep clean at South Steps in Chatan through the nonprofit organization, Project Aware.
“It’s important for the environment that we clean up the trash,” said Miki Nakachi, a local diver from Naha. “I love Okinawa, and this is a good opportunity to contribute something to my hometown. It is also a very good opportunity for us to communicate with each other. The Japanese locals, American military and people from other countries.”
During the dive, divers and snorkelers were provided mesh bags to collect trash. When the group filled up a bag they could bring it back to shore and then return to the water to find more trash.
“The cleanups make a great difference,” said Scott Dahn. “The amount of trash we collect usually averages 70-100 pounds each cleanup, that’s a lot of stuff coming out of the water.”
Divers surfaced with their bags filled with soda cans, plastic bottles, fishing line, even a car battery and toilet seat were recovered from the ocean floor.
“I hope this influences everyone,” said April Dahn. “So when people come out and they see the type of trash we are picking up, maybe the next time they are on a dive, maybe next weekend, and they see trash they’ll pick it up.”