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High school student awarded by police chief for cleaning up litter on city street on her own

12 Comments
By Meg Murphy, RocketNews24

Last week, a young high school girl from Saitama Prefecture received a certificate of thanks from the chief of police for her efforts to clean up litter from a portion of prefectural highway in her town.

On the evening of December 21, Risa Yumoto, a first-year high school student at Konosu Prefectural High School was riding her bike home from school when she saw a bunch of old newspapers and paper advertisements scattered around approximately three meters of highway. At first she passed by, but as the thought of doing nothing got to her, she turned around and returned to the site.

She began stuffing the litter into the front basket of her bicycle but soon ran out of room, so she went to the nearest convenience store, bought some trash bags, and returned to continue collecting garbage. The road gets a lot of traffic, so Risa had to wait in between signals to dash into the road and gather more trash.

Around 5:20 p.m. the police station received a call asking for someone to help a lone high school girl picking up trash along the highway. By the time help arrived, Risa had filled three garbage bags, totalling 10 kilograms of paper litter. She had just started thinking about how she was going to haul all of the garbage home when help came, and she began crying in relief.

Risa is part of her school’s basketball club, and along with their morning practice the girls do things like picking up trash around campus to help keep their school clean. “We do it at school, so it was just common sense to me,” she said of her decision to stop and clean up the highway.

Risa was presented with her certificate of thanks from the city’s Chief of Police, Tomotaka Shimura, on Jan 4.

Source: Yahoo! News Japan

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Japan’s secret garbage problem–and what you can do to help -- Divine prevention – Japan using Shinto symbols to combat litter and public peeing -- Cat Robo: The automated cat toilet that frees you from ever having to sift through kitty litter

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12 Comments
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Good on her, but please be careful. I've seen this kind of selfless behavior before. I was riding the Yokosuka Line train early on a Saturday when I heard a telltale splashing noise. Some salary man had tossed his cookies after a night out. He quickly changed seats, acting all indignant, and left his mess for somebody else. As soon as that happened, a young 20-something woman got up and attempted to clean the mess with a little pack of tissues. So I went over and gave her an old towel I had in my backpack. She scooped up the mess with the towel and got of at the next stop. I wish I had a chance to get to know such a person.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Good girl! I hope she inspires are encourages others to do the same and, more importantly, to stop dropping trash.

The increase in trash on the streets around new convenience stores infuriates me, but you do have to come prepared - with gloves and a bag. Ideally I want someone to invent retractable trash picker-uppers - those giant tweezers - so that they will fit into a day-bag.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

If I lived in Saitama, I would hire her to teach my son a thing or two about cleaning up. Heck, I gotta learn too haha

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Just be careful the picking up pet bottles with a yellowish-brown liquid inside (hint: it's not tea!). I really wish police would crack down on truck drivers for this disgusting practice.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The sanitation department must be sleeping.

Thanks to Risa and the police for substituting for them.

Hoping this first year student have taught them a lesson.

Shame on them.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I hate reading articles from visitors expressing how clean Japan is. It is fake cleaning, like fake running, fake working and fake sleeping on trains.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

I would like to thank this young girl for her efforts, she should get many more kudos for her work. The one thing I noticed first visiting then living in Japan is a lack of public trash cans on street corners. Japan as a whole is not the squeaky clean place it tries to tell the world it is and is a facade at/on many levels.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@ MsDelicious years ago before moving here, I bragged about how clean Japan was. But after moving here, I found out it's really dirty, it's just that there are volunteers that to get up very early in the morning to pick up t trash off the street. At least in front of and near the station

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I hate reading articles from visitors expressing how clean Japan is. It is fake cleaning, like fake running, fake working and fake sleeping on trains.

Grumpy much?

Anyway, well done to Risa for showing the cleaners for being the lazy sods that they are. It shouldn't be left for schoolkids and plod to do their job for them.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I have had lived in KIta Toda, Saitama 23 - year ago. The residents go out and pickup rubbishes on the street every Sunday. I was wondering they are still going out and picking up the rubbishes on the street. She deserved to be recognized for her being good citizen. Good on you Risa Yumoto.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Before anyway criticises the local services, if this young lady found the rubbish in the evening, it's quite possible the garbage people hadn't found out about it yet - I guess they don't have roving 24 hour patrols.

But it's great to hear about a young person being so proactive in helping keep their neighbourhood clean.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hate reading articles from visitors expressing how clean Japan is. It is fake cleaning, like fake running, fake working and fake sleeping on trains.

I don't think this poster understands what the meaning of the word 'fake' is. None of those things can be fake.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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