HOMIGOT SQUARE, South Korea --
Researchers with earth.org have discovered that more than three billion humans worldwide depend on the sea to help increase their quality of life. Despite this, over 8,000,000 tons of plastic and trash are deposited into the ocean yearly.
To help combat some of this pollution, U.S. Marines, Republic of Korea Marines and Sailors, and local organizations across South Korea came together to clean the beach near Homigot Square, South Korea, to promote friendship and working toward a- common goal.
“This event was organized to interact with the community and to continue strengthening the relationship between ROK Marines and U.S. Marines,” said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Rebecca Carlson, the company commander of Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division.
Attendees at the beach cleanup listened to remarks given by leaders from the Marine Corps, ROK Marine Corps, Blue Siren, and the Pohang Local Young Men’s Association. After a group photo, the groups split to the left and right side of the beach and followed the shoreline in search of debris. At the end of the beach cleanup, several trucks could be seen carrying bags of trash to local recycling centers, leaving the beach much cleaner than the day prior.
“Some of the trash I picked up was heavy,” said Cpl. Sean Nguyen, a supply non-commissioned officer with Camp Mujuk. “It made us realize how quickly trash can build up, and how we need to work together to fix the problem one step at a time.”
The Camp Mujuk mission statement, written by Col. Dennis L. Hager II, the commanding officer of Camp Mujuk, states that “We will remember that Camp Mujuk is here to serve." This means that as long as Marines reside at the base, they will strive to help protect the local community. As the volunteers left the beach, they walked away not only understanding the importance of serving the community, but helping promote world health.
“I think working with our counterparts outside of a training environment gives us a new way to form new relationships,” said Carlson. “My favorite part of today's beach cleanup was working with the community and seeing the smiles on the faces of all the volunteers.”
Nguyen explained that the beach cleanup was his first time communicating and working with the ROK Marines. He added that spending time with the volunteers helped him understand that events like this cleanup are essential to the community, and that he wants to continue to support these efforts.