Tsushima, one of the most plastic contaminated islands

A message from the Fujitsu employees who took part in the beach clean-up: Tsushima Eco Tour 2019

Aerial photography: Coastal area near Mitsushima-cho, Tsushima City, Nagasaki Prefecture(ria coast)

On November 1st, Fujitsu Limited (Cooperation with the JEAN) held a 3 day tour where Fujitsu Group employees participated in the Tsushima Eco-Tour.
Although many of the participants were already familiar with the issues on plastic waste, they were shocked to see the actual reality.
This report introduces the activities the Fujitsu team participated in.

The current issue of marine plastic waste in Tsushima

Garbage flows into Tsushima from the Sea of Japan through the Tsushima Strait after the Kuroshio Current. This flows northward through the East China Sea and meets the Tsushima Warm Current in southern Kyushu.
Due to this current, garbage from neighbouring countries flow into this area. Here is where the highest volume of garbage in Japan drifts.
At the entrance of the Tsushima Warm Current, the ria has many coastal cliffs and below these cliffs are rocky areas that are covered with garbage.

In the fiscal year of 2019, about 2,140 m3 of waste plastic and about 653 m3 of fishing nets were collected. However, there is a limited budget on how much can be spent on be collecting the rubbish.There is a vast amount of grabage on the Ria coast but not all of it can be collected. The beach where the cleanup activity was carried out this Eco-tour was an uninhabited island, and so far there has been no record of a beach clean in recent years.
Thus, the conditions of this isolated island were severe.

Beach cleaning site

Address Tsushima City, Nagasaki Prefecture,-1101 817 Coast of Ofunakoshi, Mitsushima-cho

Participants reaction to seeing Tsushima's Beach

At first I thought how colourful it all looked, but then I realized that is was all garbage, so I decided not to mention the colours.
I have seen many pictures before, but when I actually went to the site, I was overwhelmed by the horror of the amount of garbage.

It was quite different from what I had imagined.
I had never thought that it was such a serious situation.

  • Styrofoam waste

  • PET bottle waste

  • Hard plastic refuse

When I first touched the accumulated plastic, I was a little scared. I didn't think it was this bad. I was also surprised, I thought the plastic and polyethylene on the floor was sand at first.

Total amount of collected waste

We could not collect all the trash on the beach because all the Freecompacs we had prepared we had filled. There was a large amount of garbage that could not be collected, especially the smaller garbage.

  • Beaches before cleaning

  • Coastal area after cleaning

  • Once it's become a microplastic, there's no turning back. We have to to do something urgently.

  • I thought that Japan produced little waste because it was properly disposed of, but there was also a considerable amount of garbage from Japan.

  • The nearer I got, the more I noticed the fine garbage, and I was at a loss. I felt helpless.

Tsushima Eco Tour's further activities

In addition to the clean-up activity, participants learned about Tsushima's culture, history, and saw the it's beautiful nature via kayaking and trekking. The Fujitsu team and members of Tsushima's community sat together in a workshop to brainstorm solutions that could help with Tsushima's serious waste issue.

I was able to see just how much the environment needs to be protected with my own eyes. I was able to learn about a different environment to my own, and I now know that I need to think more seriously about the problem of marine plastic

I think we can use the experience we had at Idealson in our own workplace. By deepening our relationships and communication with the local people, we can begin to learn about a number of issues and conflicts in the region and look for ideas to create fundamental solutions. I now know that this way of thinking is important to have at all times, and I wish I could go back to the beginning and push things forward.

Tsushima Eco-Tour schedule

  • PeriodNovember 1st – November 3rd, 2019
    PlacesTsushima City, Nagasaki Prefecture
    Number of participants25 (Include the staff of Fujitsu)
    Day 1 of the scheduleNovember 1
    ・Program to learn about the nature and culture of Tsushima (trekking)
    ・Program to learn about plastic waste at sea (lecture)
    ・Social gathering
    Day 2 of the scheduleNovember 2
    ・Program to learn about plastic waste at sea (Cleanup)
    ・Program to experience the beautiful nature of Tsushima (Sea Kayak)
    Day 3 of the scheduleNovember 3
    ・Programs to deepen thinking in order to solve problems (ideason)
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