HomeLifestyleTokyo fetches the garbage – Liberation

    Tokyo fetches the garbage – Liberation

    The Japanese capital will host in November the first world competition of “SpoGomi”, a discipline created in 2008 which consists of picking up as much rubbish as possible in one hour. Qualifying events will take place in some twenty countries by the fall.

    Abroad, sometimes surprising initiatives are emerging to reduce waste in large cities. In November, Tokyo will host, for example, the first world championships for waste collection in history. The discipline, invented by the Japanese in 2008, is called “SpoGomi” (contraction of “sport” and “waste” in Japanese). In concrete terms, each team, made up of three people, has one hour to collect and sort as much garbage as possible in a designated area. This new discipline continues to gain in popularity in the country, it is even now an integral part of school curricula. The Nippon Foundation, which produced a 30-minute anime to promote the World Cup, estimates that around 100 SpoGomi competitions are held across Japan each year. By November, qualifying events will take place in around twenty countries, mainly in Asia. The United States, Canada, South Africa and Egypt are also expected to participate.

    Bottles, cigarette butts, lighters, cotton swabs, fishing nets, toys, packaging… Struck by the mountains of waste in the oceans, the organizers of the competition point out the importance of collecting them from the start of the chain. A real scourge, plastic waste is by far the most widespread in the marine environment: on a global scale, it is estimated today that the quantity of plastic in the oceans is between 75 and 199 million tonnes (i.e. 85% marine litter), and that 24,400 billion microplastic particles would float on their surface, according to the French Ministry of Ecological Transition. But if organizing a race to try to change mentalities is a priori a positive initiative, it is only the reflection of the failure of public policies for waste management on a global scale, from production to recycling. .

    Since 2021, the European Union has banned the marketing of certain single-use plastics (cotton swabs, cutlery, cups, plates and other plastic stirrers), forcing manufacturers to adapt. In May of the same year, a tax on non-recycled plastic packaging waste has also been introduced. The latter must in particular participate in reimbursing the European recovery plan of 750 billion euros. Achieving a 100% zero waste mode of consumption seems unthinkable today. Drastically reducing your daily garbage is, however, possible.


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