Shocked net users lament the beachside paradise littered with garbage–an uncommon occurrence in usually tidy Japan.  

When the people of Tokyo need to escape, one popular day-trip getaway is seaside Fujisawa City in neighboring Kanagawa Prefecture. Easily accessible from the nation’s capital, its long shoreline entices surfers and beachgoers alike for a few hours of frolicking outside of the hustle and bustle of city life (and perhaps to also try some yummy anchovy pancakes). Not far from Katase-Enoshima Station is a bridge that connects the mainland to Enoshima, a small island which boasts a lighthouse, aquarium, multiple shrines, delicious seafood, and on the far side, sea caves and tidal pools to explore. While Enoshima is quite popular for its natural beauty among both locals and tourists, the area is unfortunately receiving negative attention at the moment due to thoughtlessness on the part of its human visitors.

The annual Fujisawa Enoshima Fireworks Festival was held on the evening of Saturday, October 20. While this year’s festival was predicted to involve rainy weather, the main event proceeded as planned, unlike last year’s show that eventually had to be canceled. Around 85,000 people were expected to attend and enjoy the spectacle, and enjoy it they did–a little too much, in fact, because they also somehow managed to forget their civic duty to clean up after themselves.

Check out the following photo that Twitter user @Rinado_ob posted in the aftermath of the festival, which subsequently went viral on Japanese new sites: 

“Enoshima. These were Japanese people.

At this rate, next year’s fireworks festival won’t be held.”

Notice how she specifically comments that her fellow citizens were responsible for the mess. Time and time again, Japanese people have garnered an international reputation for cleaning up after themselves no matter the venue or the circumstances–even inspiring others to do the same. Therefore, part of the shock behind this photo lies in the sharp contrast to the usual image of Japanese people leaving behind pristine surroundings.

While many families probably left the fireworks early due to the rain, it’s worth noting that event organizers blasted multiple announcements both before and after the show for spectators to either take their trash with them or drop it off at one of the specified collection stations. Despite those requests, Fujisawa City’s Tourist Association reports that one ton of garbage was left on the beach this year, which is a staggering three times the amount as at the last festival. One of the most common items left behind were tarps for sitting on. At the very least, the Association does report that 150 kilograms (331 pounds) of garbage was properly disposed of at the collection sites, which is twice as much as the previous time.

Net users responded to the scene with disgust, particularly drawing attention to the disconnect between such a beautiful event and unsightly waste and musing on the future of the event as well:

“After such beautiful fireworks, this is just sad.”

“On top of opposing the Olympics itself, I’m also worried about my beloved Enoshima, which is set to host some of the events. I’m praying that the island won’t be impacted during and after the games.”

“If children see adults behaving in this way, they’ll think that they can just litter wherever they want.”

“What a disgrace. They’re better off not holding the fireworks if it’s going to end in nothing but environmental pollution.”

“Is this seriously for real? I wish people who do this kind of thing wouldn’t come to Enoshima at all. But I actually wouldn’t mind if the Enoshima Fireworks Festival ended because of this. It’s not even the main fireworks festival around here, after all.”

On a final note, event organizers had anticipated a certain amount of trash to be left behind and already had plans for a cleanup event the following morning. Volunteers who participated for an hour and a half and then displayed the most “interesting” trash that they found in front of an audience were eligible to win a prize. Even so, let’s hope that the fireworks festival, if indeed held next year, will result in a significantly smaller amount of garbage than expected.

Source: Twitter/@Rinado_ob, Biglobe News
Featured image: Twitter/@Rinado_ob