Story and photo by Keiichi Adachi, FLEACT, Yokosuka Public Affairs
The Environment, Safety and Health (ESH) Department at Naval Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC) hosted a command-wide observation of 2014 International Earth Day by conducting a volunteer clean-up event, April 22.
Approximately 20 volunteers divided into three teams picked up trash, weeds and other debris within and around SRF-JRMC.
Celebrated annually on April 22nd, Earth Day features events held worldwide to demonstrate global support for environmental protection. Earth Day sets a special day aside to reflect on what society can do to help keep the earth and its environment healthy.
Over the years, SRF-JRMC employees have celebrated Earth Day through different events.
“We held a used battery collection event, stenciled storm drains to promote prevention of storm water pollution, and introduced and distributed the new SRF-JRMC Energy Conservation ‘Passport’,” said event coordinator, Hitoshi Nikaidou, a member of Environmental Division in the ESH Department. “A clean-up event can serve many purposes, but our intent was to focus on preventing pollution, beautification of the area, and showing support and dedication to our military and civilian community.”
According to Environmental Division, division members perform daily walk-throughs in the SRF-JRMC area of responsibility (AOR) to ensure environmental compliance. During walk-throughs, members also take notice of locations outside the AOR that are not pleasing to the eye, and do their best to correct the deficiency.
“The environmental team’s philosophy is never to ignore environmental concerns, so the team members formed a brainstorming committee seeking ideas for Earth Day activities,” said Environmental Division Head, Nathaniel Deleston. “Fellow employees proposed about ten ideas. The committee then selected a clean-up event and decided on three locations within or adjacent to the SRF-JRMC AOR. The clean-up event was a great display of pride and caring for the community, and I really appreciated the volunteerism by several members from the SRF-JRMC Production Shops.”
Taisei Suzuki, a member of the Rigger Shop, has seen a mixture of trash, vinyl products, and driftwood discarded into an open-area located in front of his shop. He has felt that members of his shop should be more proactive and do something about the trash, but is aware of the fact that most people tend to become so entwined in their daily jobs that they overlook it and forget that it is there.
“Doing trash pick-up was harder than we expected,” said Suzuki. “I think we should take environmental conditions more seriously while cleaning the area. Our two apprentices joined the event and they told me they felt strongly about environmental issues. I felt that the Earth Day event provided us with the opportunity to consider the possibility of protecting our environment conditions.”
The Earth Day event is designed to give volunteers an opportunity to recognize that the Earth and its ecosystems provide its inhabitants with life and sustenance. It also provides time for participants to enjoy nature by going outside their offices and shops and enjoy the sunlight, while doing their part to clean up planet Earth.
“I have a good time building camaraderie with my fellow SRF-JRMC employees while we are picking up trash and pulling weeds,” said Jim Tuazon, Environmental Protection Specialist of the Environmental Division.
Don Noyes, SRF-JRMC ESH Department Head, previously worked in Environmental Standards at U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). When assigned to NAVSEA, Noyes inspected all NAVSEA operated facilities at least annually and had first-hand knowledge of the environmental programs across the Navy Enterprise. He feels that the environment at SRF-JRMC is one of the cleanest he has witnessed.
“I think the reason why it is so clean is due in part to the Japanese culture of maintaining a clean environment,” said Noyes. “Our Environmental Division is aware of the high U.S. and Japan standards for cleanliness and works hard to uphold them. Earth Day is one of the tools our Environmental Division uses to meet and, in most cases, exceed those standards.”