How Northumberland can learn a litter lesson from Japan

Japanese football fans.
Japanese football fans.

When the World Cup kicks off, I am usually found in my garden. However, my attention was drawn to the Japanese fans, who have gained praise and publicity.

On June 19, Japan beat Colombia 2-1. Following the match, the Japanese fans were seen sweeping and cleaning the 44,000-seater stadium in Mordovia.

On the same day, Senegal beat Poland 2-1, and the fans celebrated by cleaning the stadium.

Both the Senegalese and Japanese cleaned up after their 2-2 match on June 24, and again the Japanese cleaned up after their defeat against Poland on June 28.

What better way to send out a message to the whole world?

Cleaning is part of the Japanese culture. Their ‘O-Soji’, or big clean, is in December and involves meticulous cleaning of the home, getting rid of rubbish and useless items. It is part of tradition and religious beliefs, and it’s taken very seriously.

Many schools in Japan also practice o-soji. Whilst adults help, it is children who carry out most of the cleaning in their schools. They wash and clean the floors. Cleaning is part of their education, and it pays off.

In Kobe, with a population over 1.5 million, litter is extremely rare. It has one of the world’s most effective waste disposal systems and recycles most of the waste it generates.

In a small village, Kamikatru, they recycle, reuse or compost 80 per cent of their waste, and they are hoping to achieve zero waste by 2020.

In many UK towns and cities, we sadly see an increase in litter during the World Cup. But it doesn’t have to be like that.

At your next local football match, or any other park, set an example by picking up cans and bottles and putting them in a recycling bin.

It is Keep Britain Tidy’s Love Parks Week from July 13-22. You can litter-pick at any public park, including playgrounds. Get involved, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Our next litter-pick is on Sunday, July 15, at 2pm at the beach behind Druridge Bay Country Park. Anyone is welcome and equipment will be provided.

Get in touch with us on Facebook under LitterBugs, or email