By Ryo Isobe, FLEACT Yokosuka Public Affairs
May there only be peaceful and cheerful Earth Days to come for our beautiful Spaceship Earth as it continues to spin and circle in frigid space with its warm and fragile cargo of animate life.
– General U Thant, United Nations Secretary, on the first Earth Day of March 21, 1971, at the ceremony.
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Yokosuka Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC) Environmental Division and Physical Infrastructure Management Division team members supported the environmentally-conscious Earth Day campaign by reducing unauthorized waste dumping by Dry Dock #6 (DD6), April. 22, 2016.
The team came up with a low-cost and effective idea to contribute to the celebration by painting new signs, designating the DD6 waste staging area as “SRF ONLY.”
“Unauthorized industrial waste at [DD6] has been an ongoing issue for our command,” said Environmental Engineer Kenji Ozawa. “To prevent unauthorized dumping a number of ideas have been presented including fence and/or security cameras. These would be extremely expensive.”
As reported by the command’s Environmental Division, this location at DD6 is for SRF-JRMC-generated industrial waste such as wood, rubber, appliances, furniture and other debris. Other commands must dispose their rubbish in accordance with Fleet Activities Yokosuka’s disposal policy.
“According to an industrial waste contractor, people who are not SRF-JRMC personnel frequently dispose of things like home electric appliances, or devices like TVs or refrigerators at this site,” said Industrial Specialist Naohiro Tomita from Physical Infrastructure Management Division. “Apparently they are bringing this waste either from home or the ships.”
Even though there are notice boards, many people do not pay attention to those signs. When this place was surrounded by fences with notices in the past, there was little “unauthorized” dumping.
“With this simple painted sign, we expect to see as much as a 10 percent decrease in unauthorized dumping here. We have now finished painting six signs on this site.”
The SRF-JRMC Environmental Division is a group of environmental engineers and engineering technicians. They are responsible for managing the command’s environmental programs in compliance with Japan Environmental Governing Standards (JEGS). Observing Earth Day is a visible example of the significant endeavors this division organizes to help preserve the environment around us.
April 22 is celebrated as Earth Day to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement worldwide. Many countries also celebrate the entire “Earth Week” in support of protecting their natural environment and raising environmental awareness.
Earth Day was conceived by Gaylord Nelson, a former U.S. Senator from Wisconsin during the late 1960s when environmental conservation was encouraged through best-selling books such as Rachael Carson’s Silent Spring. In concurrence with the cultural and political climate at the time, Nelson’s idea inspired thousands of college students and culminated in an environmental “teach-in” held, April 22, 1970.
This year, Earth Day also saw the signing of Paris Climate Agreement at the United Nations headquarters in New York. According to The Associated Press (AP), at least 175 leaders from the United States, China, Britain and France joined and signed this historic United Nations treaty to reduce global carbon pollution and set the world back on a low-carbon path.