Marines, sailors and civilians gathered at the seawall north of Penny Lake to volunteer their time to clean up the environment here April 20, 2012.
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- The cleanup celebrates April 22, declared International Mother Earth Day by the United Nations in 1970.
Volunteers came from all over the station to clean the outer regions of the seawall, which collects most of its debris from the ocean’s current.
The volunteers took great pride in their work. They saw the cleanup as an opportunity to do their part for Earth Day the best way they knew how.
“We’re here to cleanup all the debris washed up to the shore by ships or just from the general population,” said Matthew Stover, seawall volunteer. “We’re trying to make the base and the Earth a cleaner place to live.”
The cleanup is an annual event that takes place on station at the seawall.
“We cleanup the seawall every year,” said Charles R. Hill, comprehensive environmental training and education programs trainer. “The sea side of the seawall is not easily seen. Therefore, it usually collects the largest amount of trash and debris washed up to the shore. That is why we pick this spot.”
When running along the seawall if one were to peek over the edge they could find a large amount of debris. This was until volunteers devoted their time to helping restore Earth’s natural beauty to its proper form.
Some of the items cleaned up included old nets, large foam fishing buoys, soda bottles, cans, tires and gas cans.
“There is no telling where all this trash comes from,” said Hill. “The current pulls it all in. But we are happy to do this. We are happy to be out here doing our part to protect the environment.”
When the volunteers finished collecting the trash, a barbecue was held for them free of charge in thanks for the time they devoted. The seawall and the air station in general are now cleaner places.
“Thank you to all the volunteers that came out to help,” said Hill. “This could not have been possible without their help and I am very satisfied and happy with the amount of work they have done not just for the base but for the Earth as well.