Single Marine Program volunteers from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni gathered to lend a helping hand during a beach cleanup at Yuu Beach, Japan, Aug. 25, 2017.
The event was an opportunity to demonstrate the willingness of service members to be respectful ambassadors and contribute to making Japan a better, cleaner place to live in.
“SMP conducted this beach cleanup because we are trying to get involved with our Japanese nationals and trying to make a difference every time we come out here,” said Oana Ivanoff, the manager of Marine Lounge. “We’re showing our nationals that we’re good ambassadors and willing to help them out.”
Volunteers reported picking up debris like trash bags, plastic containers and plastic foam, some of which was left behind by Americans from the air station.
“It’s important for us to help out with any projects going on around here in the local area, because if we caused some of the mess, we need to help clean it up,” said U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Andrew King, chemical biological radiological nuclear defense specialist with Marine Aircraft Group 12. “A lot of people don’t realize this stuff is not biodegradable, so it just sits around forever. We have a lot of buildup of that.”
Twenty-eight service members from around the air station participated in the cleanup and were joined by two Japanese locals from Iwakuni City Hall and one student from the National Institute of Technology in Yamaguchi Prefecture.
“We always have a few Japanese people actually helping the American volunteers with the cleanup,” said Ivanoff. “It’s good to see the volunteers making new friends with Japanese nationals.”
Ivanoff said SMP conducts three volunteer events a month, including the Yuu Beach clean-up. She added that volunteering with SMP helps both the Japanese locals and the volunteers themselves.
According to Ivanoff, the SMP provides service members a unique opportunity to explore different parts of Japan and experiences the culture as they volunteer.
Ivanoff said she hopes that the volunteers help spread the word so new volunteers participate in the program.
Check here for more Iwakuni upcoming events.