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Load of rubbish: Litter-hunters vie for unusual world title in Tokyo

26 Comments
By Andrew McKIRDY

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26 Comments
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As it's Shibuya, they'd have a field day in the early mornings. Hordes of crows and rats rip apart the flimsy plastic garbage bags every morning and spread discarded smelly food over the sidewalks and streets. I often need to hold my nose and watch where I step when walking there.

I doubt whether these teams would enjoy scraping the oozing food scraps off the ground, not to mention the considerable number of freshly dead rat corpses, although I would certainly appreciate them doing so.

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

While I applaud the idea of collecting garbage like this, an Olympic sport? Also, I think this could only take place in Japan, most other cities at least in North America are too dirty and dangerous with all types of nasty things they could easily find!

10 ( +18 / -8 )

The normal comparison with the USA post on every story has been made.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

Along river banks and coastlines with tons of rubbish, more than any team could ever carry..

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

Well done..

Learn the lesson people, we need more clean gaijins like them..

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

MarkXToday  07:24 am JST

While I applaud the idea of collecting garbage like this, an Olympic sport? Also, I think this could only take place in Japan, most other cities at least in North America are too dirty and dangerous with all types of nasty things they could easily find!

While I wouldn't recommend picking things up without a grabber, we have less to pick up in the US, I bet, because we don't have an irrational fear of garbage cans.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

This is really First world sport for first world problem.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_World_problem

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

A made-for-media event; a ridiculous distraction at best. Proposal: rather than teams of bibbed and identified foreigners competing against each other to gather meaningless scraps of litter...instead let's have teams of illicit, unregistered local waste disposal companies driving dump trucks with illegal tinted windows, illegally dumping millions of kilograms of toxic industrial waste into the rural countryside, operating in the darkness of night, every night...

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

While I applaud the idea of collecting garbage like this, an Olympic sport?

Why not? They just put cricket back in, the most boring sport imaginable. Picking up rubbish maybe equally boring but with a tangible benefit.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

There is no better place than the home of the wombles to train for this, as we have insane amounts of litter. You could pick up by type of waste or dominant colour if you wanted to.

The entertainment district of Shibuya does have more than most parts of Japan, although I have seen a few areas that seem to have been used for fly tipping. In other areas you will see immaculately uniformed shop staff brushing up the tiniest scraps outside their shops before opening.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Wow, I’m so glad I live in Fukuoka. You can literally eat off the floor here

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

It doesn’t help that that there aren’t any garbage bins on the streets, not even at railway stations anymore.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Great! Anything that gets rubbish off the streets is a great thing, and if this can make it fun and get more people to clean up than that is wonderful.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Why not? They just put cricket back in, the most boring sport imaginable. Picking up rubbish maybe equally boring but with a tangible benefit.

Clearly some people don't have the mental acuity to understand the complex rules of cricket so perhaps litter picking is the right sport for them.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I know many countryside roads full of rubbish. It looks like the same persons keep throwing garbages from their cars or trucks.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Attention should be turned to the beaches and river banks as Japan has the most garbage and litter than any other country I have ever seen. The natives just walk passed it as if it they are blind to the fact.

-17 ( +5 / -22 )

Our local main river, the Ibogawa is super clean with many kinds of fish. Used to be very polluted from the leather works. The local beach is super clean with very little debris coming. Japan's largest mudflat. The Harima-Nada Sea is used for oysters and regular tests for toxins. The beach attracts visitors for the clam collecting.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

AndyToday  10:38 am JST

Attention should be turned to the beaches and river banks as Japan has the most garbage and litter than any other country I have ever seen. The natives just walk passed it as if it they are blind to the fact.

For such a huge city, Tokyo is one of the cleanest in the world. Yes, most Japanese don't litter but part of the reason in cities, is that you'll be seen by someone; social pressure, which in itself is as good a motivator as any. But go to the countryside, forests, beaches, and riverbanks, and you'll see a different story because there's less people. Japanese beaches can be really filthy with all kinds of garbage: cans, pet bottles, plastic bags, bento containers, etc. Sodai gomi pickup can be expensive so during a stroll in the forest, don't be surprised if you see some small printers, monitors, microwaves, etc.

Any help with littler is beneficial but sometimes these kinds of volunteering activities for corporates and youth aren't very attractive, popular, or creative and takes away responsibilities from city and ward gov'ts who are supposed to use our taxes to keep places clean.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

What is it going to take to reverse the absence of trash cans. They even recently removed the much needed bins at my own JR Ryogoku station. I wrote a polite letter of protest to the station. Kind of depressing.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

If they come to the countryside, bring fork-lift trucks.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Shunryū SuzukiToday  05:53 pm JST

Agreed. How many of us non-Japanese have been shocked to arrive at a beach or rural area that has rubbish everywhere including dumped fridges, old TV's etc.

The nearest beach to Tokyo Katase Nishihama beaches was a health hazard the last time I was there. You could not take a step without stepping on ciggerette butts. coffee cans or conbini plastic bags.

I think a truly clean country is one that takes cleanliness in the real as well as the urban environment seriously such as Singapore, New Zealand, Sweden, Iceland, Austria, Norway and Switzerland etc.

Judging by the downvotes, looks like some Japanese posters misunderstand again. By pointing the uncleanliness in some areas doesn't mean to say that Japanese aren't clean. I think the point is that they're not cleaner or dirtier than other people. Again big cities are very clean because of societal pressure and norms. I've been to and seen some Japanese homes and was surprised how messy and disorganized they are and it's not always because of lack of space. The real verdict is how clean one keeps one's own home. And there is a lot of disrespect for nature whether beaches, forests, rivers, etc. littered with garbage of all kinds but since most don't see it.....out of sight...out of mind.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

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