BINGO’s Driver Trainer Coordinator Doug Williams and his team recently competed in the Spogomi World Cup in Japan.
Spogomi was invented by Mamitsuka Kenichi in Japan in 2008 as a sport that combines ‘sport’ with conventional garbage picking activities undertaken by companies and organisations. It has transformed what traditionally was a social service activity into a competition through the fusion of ‘sports’ and ‘social service activities. But it would take until 2023 for the inaugural Spogomi World Cup to finally be held.
The event kicked off with a welcome party on Monday 20 November to welcome the 21 nations competing, to Tokyo. Tuesday saw the team captains meet with officials to go through the rules, followed by some sightseeing and a dinner.
On Wednesday, a large-scale official opening ceremony was held where the contestants were greeted by three Japanese Government ministers, including the Minister of Sport, and about 50 – 100 media representatives covering the event. And then it was time for the competition events where waste was collected and sorted, and points were awarded based on different waste categories.
“It was a fantastic event to be part of and a great opportunity to learn more about waste management around the world,” said Doug.
“Spogomi aims to bring more awareness to micro plastic waste in our oceans and the importance of preventing waste from reaching our drains and waterways in the first place.
“We shared stories with the other contestants and learnt about the challenges some of them are trying to solve for. Some of the nations competing in Japan explained how they received a lot of the plastic waste that makes it to our oceans and end up with polluted water and waterways.
“We heard from a group of women from Indonesia where their event was held in a dangerous area, so they had to be escorted and protected by the police whilst picking up the trash. They were a very passionate team and very keen to clean up their country.”
Australia’s team consisted of three contestants and a team manager. Doug’s wife Petra was part of the team and echoed Doug’s sentiments.
“Hearing all the stories in Japan really reinforced the importance of conscious consumerism and the role we all play in preventing waste from entering our environment and waters,” said Petra Williams.
“The waste we’ve collected during the competition is the last defense against this problem and is the end of the cycle. More care needs to be put into what we buy to reduce waste but we also need more awareness and effort around getting people to recycle correctly and reuse more products.
“We hope that more teams will look to join the Spogomi event in Sydney as it returns in late 2025.”
United Kingdom took home first prize in the inaugural Spogomi World Cup event with 51kg of waste collected during the event. An amazing 500kg+ of waste was collected during the events in Japan.
Congratulations to Doug, Petra, and Jamie (and manager Jason) for placing 9th in the world cup! An awesome achievement that aligns with BINGO’s vision of a waste free Australia.
You can read more about the competition here.