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[YRP Students' Essays] We Can Do Something Here

When I lived in New Jersey, U.S.A., every summer, I went to Japan to visit my grandparents. My grandparents lived in Ashiya City which is in Hyogo Prefecture. My grandfather used to take my brother and me to a beach called Ashiya Beach. It is near my grandparents' house. Ashiya Beach is an ordinary beach with white sand and blue seawater. Sometimes, you can see some kind of fish jumping out of the water in the deep part. In the shallows you can find short-necked clams everywhere.

One summer, we went to the beach as usual. However, something was different. Garbage lay by the waterside. The shore was littered with plastic bottles, tree branches and twigs, an umbrella, a lighter, plastic bags, some kind of string, and a plastic fragment the origins of which I could not imagine. My grandfather said, "The garbage might have ended up here because of the typhoon that came the other day." Then he said, "Let's clean these up!" At first I thought that he had lost his mind. However, he had not. He might have said that because he saw the dead jellyfish that was caught in a plastic bag, or because he saw the dead fish tangled in some kind of string. I do not know. Maybe just because Ashiya Beach was not looking like it is supposed to.

We wrapped plastic bags around our hands and started picking up the garbage from the end of the shore. Whatever caught our eye, we picked it up. There was no place to throw the garbage out (the garbage can was too small for that), so we made a few piles of garbage, hoping some superintendent would remove the piles. After one and a half hours, Ashiya Beach got back its own shape again.

"Why are we doing this? Let someone else do this." That is what I thought at first when I was picking up garbage. However, after I saw the beautiful Ashiya Beach again, I felt proud of myself because just the three of us were enough to be able to change the environment.

For the people who are thinking, "I am too young, too old, too weak, to change the environment. There is nothing I can do," I will say, "If you have the will to do it, you can. So, just try. One day if everybody thinks the same way, there will be no place that is littered with garbage on this earth."

Child Research Net would like to thank the Doshisha International Junior/Senior High School and Ichiro Kusama, student and author, for permitting reproduction of this article on the CRN web site.

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