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Japanese Embassy organizes Shuwaikh beach cleanup

‘Operation Turtle’ sets goal of one day turtles returning back to Shuwaikh beach

KUWAIT: The Japanese Embassy in Kuwait organized a beach cleanup campaign yesterday at Shuwaikh beach, in cooperation with Kuwait Environment Public Authority (EPA), Kuwait Environment Protection Society (KEPS), Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), teams and voluntary groups. The campaign aims at enhancing people’s awareness of the importance of environment protection.

Speaking to Kuwait Times, Takashi Ashiki, Japanese Ambassador to Kuwait, said: “Every November the Japanese society organizes this campaign that we call ‘Operation Turtle’, hoping one day turtles can come back to this beautiful city. We believe that cleaning and protecting the environment is everybody’s responsibility. I’m very happy that every year the participants’ number is increasing from among the Japanese community, citizens and expats. This is our responsibility to prepare and hand over nature to the next generations – to our kids and grandchildren – to enjoy the life we enjoy now.”

The ambassador said this annual campaign started in 2000. “We could’ve done it once, but we insisted to make it a habit. The important thing is continuity, because we have a responsibility toward the environment,” Ashiki said. “There are more than 400 participants. For the first time, we see KPC participating, and they are known for their concern about protecting the environment.”

Secretary-General of the Kuwaiti Society for the Protection of the Environment Janan Behzad stressed that the annual event has become a symbolic annual forum for interacting with environmental issues as part of sustainable development plans. She explained that the society has been a major participant in ‘Operation Turtle’ since 2000, as it is a community environmental work included in activities that promote environmental awareness by drawing attention to the importance of coastal areas and their environments, marine organisms and habitats.
She noted that the association participates in the protection of the environment through several programs including ‘Green Schools,’ in addition to the community awareness program ‘Safari Beach.’ Behzad pointed out these programs aim to spread more awareness among many segments of society of all ages, especially school students.

As for the Japanese community, Nanami Okuda, 21, a Japanese student who participated in the event, said she came to help Kuwait clean its coastline. “I saw the post of the embassy about the campaign and gathered my friends to clean and participate with the Kuwaiti community. Through this service, we show our respect and gratitude towards Kuwait,” she said.

By Faten Omar

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