Britain Just Won The Litter Picking World Championship

In a triumph for environmental consciousness, Britain emerged victorious in the inaugural SpoGomi World Cup, a global litter-picking championship held in Tokyo. The competition gathered 21 teams from across the globe, including Australia and Brazil, with the goal of raising awareness about environmental issues through a unique sporting event.

Taking to the streets of Shibuya and Omotesando, teams of three diligently combed through urban spaces, collecting litter during two 90-minute sessions. Britain’s team, aptly named “The North Will Rise Again,” secured the championship by accumulating 9,046.1 points for collecting an impressive 57.27 kilograms (126.26 lbs) of rubbish. The host Japanese trio came in second place.

While some teams focused more on ecological considerations, Britain’s approach was a fusion of sport and environmental responsibility. Team captain Sarah Parry emphasized the learning experience, stating, “We’ve taken so much away about how much we need to clean up our oceans and reduce litter.”

Japan’s renowned cleanliness posed a unique challenge for participants, with some struggling to find substantial amounts of trash. Team USA member Beatrice Hernandez noted, “Sometimes it was really hard because there wasn’t really that much trash.” Despite this, the teams exhibited determination, scouring bushes and concentrating on smaller items like cigarette butts.

The event’s name, SpoGomi, is a blend of “sport” and the Japanese word for trash, “gomi,” and was conceived in 2008 to encourage public litter cleanup. The concept gained popularity, leading to 230 contests in Japan in the current year alone.

Organized by the Nippon Foundation, the SpoGomi World Cup aimed to shed light on environmental issues, particularly plastic pollution in the oceans. Executive Director Mitsuyuki Unno stressed the event’s dual purpose: raising awareness among those unfamiliar with marine waste problems and providing a platform for those motivated to take action.

As the inaugural championship concluded successfully, plans are already underway for the second SpoGomi World Cup in 2025, promising a continued global effort to tackle environmental challenges through the unconventional lens of competitive litter picking.

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