From the Field: Plastic Waste: Stop Killing Our Oceans

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Date Aired: March 26

Waste from Japan is Polluting Hawaii’s Waters

Even the popular resort islands of Hawaii, who welcome 1.3 million visitors from Japan annually, are affected by a significant amount of plastic waste. Among these are waste from Japan.

We are on Hawaii’s Oahu Island. Kailua Beach, once known as the United States’ most beautiful beach, is facing danger.

Kazuyo Takagi has lived near the beach for 20 years. Noticing the increase in plastic littering the beach, she and a friend have started coming to pick up trash from the beach each month, starting this year. There is a reason behind the large amount of waste on Hawaii’s shores. American marine researcher, Charles Moore made a discovery 20 years ago.

The massive Garbage Patch was created as a result of currents and wind. According to Moore, the large amount of waste that washes up on Hawaii’s shores is a result of this Garbage Patch, which is growing in size each year. Based on data released last week by a Western research association, the Garbage Patch is approximately 1.6 million square kilometers, amounting to over four times that of Japan’s land area. How did this Garbage Patch appear?

The Garbage Patch contains plastic waste not only from North and Central America, but also Asian countries including Japan and China. A percentage of this waste reaches Hawaii’s shores. Hawaii’s southern-most beach is home to the “largest garbage accumulation” in Hawaii.

We found many pieces of garbage considered to be washed up from Japan. Feeling a sense of crisis, Hawaii has implemented their own measures. They have banned plastic bags from all retail stores. Many hotels in Honolulu have stopped providing customers with plastic straws, and instead provide paper straws only when requested.

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