The key to a satisfactory food and farming system is to bring together and promote at the same time the four most important concerns of protecting livelihoods, environment, biodiversity, and food safety.
The SpoGomi World Cup witnessed Britain emerging victorious in the litter-picking competition held in Tokyo this week. Bringing together 21 teams from across the globe, the inaugural event aimed to spotlight environmental concerns and promote consciousness about the impact of litter on our planet.
Teams of three, hailing from countries as distant as Australia and Brazil, took to the streets of Shibuya and Omotesando, engaging in 90-minute litter-collecting sessions over two intervals. Their mission: to hunt for waste and meticulously categorize their findings.
“The North Will Rise Again,” the British team, clinched the top spot, accumulating 9,046.1 points by gathering 57.27 kilograms (126.26 lbs) of refuse. This victory propelled them ahead of the Japanese host trio, securing Britain as the litter-picking world champion.
Britain team captain Sarah Parry, reflecting on the win, shared, “A lot of the other teams maybe were more ecological, and less sport, and we’re probably the opposite, but we’ve taken so much away about how much we need to clean up our oceans and reduce litter. It’s been a really good experience.”
Japan, known for its stringent cleanliness standards, presented a unique challenge for some contestants. The meticulous cleanliness of Shibuya and Omotesando posed difficulties for teams in finding substantial litter.
“Sometimes it was really hard because there wasn’t really that much trash,” explained Beatrice Hernandez from Team USA. “But that’s when we have to look a little bit deeper like in the bushes or just really focus on the cigarette butts on the floor.”
The term “SpoGomi” is a fusion of the word “sport” and the Japanese term for trash, “gomi.” Originating in 2008 as an initiative to encourage public litter collection, SpoGomi has gained popularity, with 230 contests held in Japan this year alone.
Organized by the Nippon Foundation, the SpoGomi World Cup aimed to raise awareness of environmental issues, particularly the menace of plastic pollution in oceans. Executive Director Mitsuyuki Unno emphasized the importance of making those unaware of marine waste problems comprehend the severity of ocean litter.
“The first important thing is to make people who are not yet aware of the marine waste problem realize the situation of litter in the ocean,” Unno stated. “The second purpose of this event is to provide opportunities for people who have become aware of the issue and want to take some actions.”
With the success of the inaugural World Cup, plans are already in place for the second edition, scheduled to take place in 2025. As nations come together in the spirit of environmental responsibility, the SpoGomi World Cup marks a significant step towards a cleaner and more aware world.