Let's Learn About Marine Litter!

Why are surveys conducted?

The Northwest Pacific Region is a semi-enclosed sea surrounded by countries such as Japan, Korea and Russia, and is a historical stage for much economic and cultural exchange. It is also a valuable shared asset providing a great deal of benefits for residents of coastal areas, such as being a fishing resource and a place for marine recreation. Therefore, it is of extreme importance to protect and nurture it by aiming to prevent environmental pollution through coordination and cooperation.

In recent years, however, the pollution from driftage and washed-up debris in coastal regions and on beaches, having impact on ecosystems, is causing concern in the bountiful and beautiful Northwest Pacific Region too. It is also becoming an international issue with the main materials responsible being identified as buoyant waste products, comprising largely of plastics.

Faced with such a situation, the Survey of Washed-up Debris on Beaches along the Northwest Pacific Region Coastline has been conducted every year since fiscal 1996, in order to comprehend the extent of pollution from washed-up debris on beaches. The survey initially began on 16 beaches through the coordination and cooperation of 10 local governments in Japan, and in fiscal 1997, gaining participation from 3 prefectures in Japan, as well as from local governments in Korea and Russia, it was conducted afresh as the International Joint Survey of the Northwest Pacific Region Coastline. This resulted in the survey being implemented in the 4 countries of Japan, China, Korea and Russia in 2004.
The survey has been conducted on 184 beaches of 38 local governments in 4 coastal countries in the Northeast Asia region (Japan, China, South Korea, and Russia) with the cooperation of a total of 29,316 participants to date.

The results from these surveys are used as data for future marine environment preservation, fishery conservation, and measures against waste products, and participation in the survey is helping to create a common awareness in local inhabitants of coastal regions by developing the attitude not to litter and to protect the marine environment.