Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 3rd 2016 Contents to do clean-up exercises.
Fujimori said that previously, in Japan,
garbage would be sent straight to industrial
companies to be recycled, but that now the
wastes are also analysed and documented
for future reference.
Last year, Fujimori said 10,000 partic-
ipants collected 5,602 bags of litter, and
removed 1,484 bulk waste items such as
discarded tyres and household appliances.
The river is cleaned 159 times a year by
volunteers who want to preserve the envi-
ronment and protect sea life from being
harmed or killed. It s a task Fujimoriu takes
great pride in.
"I love doing this," said Fujimori, who
ditched his job as a corporate worker to
clean public places.
"This was my calling. People have scorned
what I do, but this is what makes me happy."
After each clean-up session, Fujimori
said newcomers are shown colourful draw-
ings and told how fishes choke and die
when they ingest items such as plastic bags,
which irresponsible people dump into the
"So when they leave here, they have a
better understanding and appreciation for
the environment and the importance of our
fishing stock," said Fujimori.
He said after the garbage is picked up,
it is sorted according to a list.
"We also document the type of garbage,
how many bags are collected, and what
percentage is hazardous waste as opposed
to the plastics collected."
Once this is done, Fujimori said a foreign
organisation called JEAN processes the data,
and shares it internationally. He explained:
"JEAN is involved in the clean-up of beaches
around the world. This data is then sent to
Ocean Conservancy in the US, which com-
piles annual reports on its findings of garbage
dumped in seas."
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The Japanese are seeing their wastes in a whole
new way. Whether it is how they collect wastes,
manage their system, or educate their people, things
are done differently.
Gone are the days when sanitation workers would
pick up trash and bury it in landfills to decay. Now,
staff analyse bags of garbage before sending the con-
tents to be recycled at industrial companies. They
document hazardous waste items, and they educate
participants in clean-up exercises on the dangers of
certain plastics to sea and to human life.
The man behind some of these changes is 20-
year-old Natsuyuki Fujimori, an environmental con-
servationist. On October 22, he brought some 45
volunteers to Arakawa River in Adachi Ward, Toyko,
on a clean-up exercise to remove garbage that had
been washed up along its banks. The volunteers
picked up garbage which had entered the river further
upstream. Armed with gloves, translucent bags and
metal tongs, the volunteers---including children,
retirees, bank workers and public servants---joined
Fujimori in cleaning up.
Fujimori works for an environmental advocacy
group called Clean Aid Forum. Every week, com-
missioned by the Japanese government, he partners
with employees of non-governmental organisations
A new approach to waste in Japan
A large study of
British adults pub-
lished in the online
journal BMJ Open
found that volunteer-
ing during middle age
and senior years is
linked to enhanced mental health.
The study showed that there was a positive
association between volunteering and good emo-
tional wellbeing and mental health which became
apparent in individuals around the age of 40 and
continued up until old age.
Even after other factors which could potentially
influence one s emotional and mental state such
as social class, state of health and marital status
were taken into consideration, the findings of the
study were still the same. Previous research shows
that people who volunteer have a larger social
network, more power, a sense of purpose and
We have heard of our volunteers speak about
the many benefits of becoming Alta tutors. Many
speak about how much they learn from their stu-
dents on a weekly basis, how useful, humbled
and fulfilled they feel after teaching a class and
how much they treasure relationships formed
with members of the Alta family. They also speak
about how much knowledge they gain while par-
ticipating in Alta s training course.
If you have the time, volunteer with Alta! We
are currently recruiting tutors for the next aca-
demic year (September 2017-July 2018). Interested
people should have a Grade I or II CSEC General
Proficiency English (or equivalent) and be able to
commit to teaching an Alta class twice a week
for two hours each time. If you or someone you
know would like to become an Alta tutor, give us
a call at 624-2582 and come in for an interview
to determine whether Alta is a match for you.
In the event that you are unable to become
a volunteer tutor, you can become a Reading Circle
Volunteer, Donate or Sponsor-a-student. Call
624-2582 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for
more info. Keep up to date with Alta on
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: Alta TT
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