The Japanese Society in Kuwait, in cooperation with the Kuwait Environment Protection Society (KEPS), organized a beach cleanup titled ‘Operations Turtles’ in the Shuwaikh beach area on Saturday, 21 November. Adults and children from the Japanese and Kuwaiti communities, members of KEPS and school students, as well as volunteers from the Ministry of Electricity and Water, gathered together for the event and went about cleaning up the beach area next to the headquarters of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation.
The Japanese Ambassador to Kuwait, H.E. Toshihiro Tsujihara who was actively involved in the beach clean-up spoke passionately about protecting the natural habitat and its life forms. He pointed out that taking care of the environment was critical to the protection of the country. Speaking exclusively to The Times Kuwait, the Secretary General of the Kuwait Environment Protection Society (KEPS) Wijdan AlOqab said that the event was aimed at protecting the habitat of turtles, an initiative that was started by the Japanese society in Kuwait more than 15 years ago.
“Our role as KEPS is to bring together all the parties who represent or do something about protecting our environment. We created this event to let turtles return to the beach, and we are happy to see that happening.” She went on to add, “Sometimes the name of the event is far different from the actual event. For example, today’s event is beach cleaning but is titled as ‘Operation Turtles’, because the ultimate aim is to highlight the fact that beaches in Kuwait form an unfit habitat for turtles to lay eggs, mainly due to people using it for recreational purposes.
Today, we are highlighting the importance of cleaning the beachand making it fit for turtles to lay their eggs.” For their part, Nishiki and Hongo, two young members involved in ‘Operation Turtles’ revealed that the event is unique in that the initiative began in 2000 as a measure to bolster ties between Japan and Kuwait on issues related to environment protection. They noted that the event had helped in spreading awareness, as well as increasing the number of participants over the years. They went on to note that although the beach cleaning is an annual event, it could be done more often.
Moreover, there are several beaches in Kuwait, like the ones in Salmiya where cleanups could be done with more people participating. “Though more than 200 hundred volunteers participated in this year’s ‘Operation Turtles’, we look forward to welcoming even more participants next year. Beach cleaning not only helps the environment, ultimately it is Kuwait that will be clean,” they added.