Tamil Resources Conservation Trust

Keep our island sustainable

Laundromat and environment #4

In early March, we first checked the condition of the tank.

When we opened the big lid, we were surprised to see the blackish shining surface. It was oily and sticky, 3-4 millimeters thick layer.

And two big holes were also found. One hole was just under the pipe inlet, may be the water dropping in made the hole. Through such holes, water may be run quickly without enough filtering. 

We need to resolve two issues, oily layer and holes.

We decided just remove oily materials from the surface and keep it next to the wall not through away out of the tank.

For holes we decided to fill with sand and coconut fiber. Also we planned to set a wooden pallet on the surface where water dropping in.

Let us see how the condition will be the same in coming months.

Laundromat and environment #3

Is the filtering tank working well to clean the waste water?

Through the laboratory test, it is confirmed the tank is surely reduce the pollution.

At the site, we checked the value of COD, Chemical Oxygen Demand. The values of both, before and after the filtering, were the same around 120 mg per little. A bit strange result.

So Jun brought back the sample water to Japan and asked the laboratory test.

The result was the value of COD reduced from 200 to 130 mg/l. BOD, Biological Oxygen Demand, was also reduced from 370 to 200. (Correction: I am sorry that I was saying the values were reduced more than half. It was wrong.)

Somehow the value of surfactant which is harmful specially within some weeks after discharging into the nature, was increased from 54 to 290 mg/l. It was considered as the result of maintenance work of the tank. Oily layer at the top of sand filter might be catching surfactant and was released after the maintenance work, Prof. Nakano suggested.

In other words, surfactant was well trapped inside of the tank, not released into the ecosystem.

We may keep monitoring the water quality continuously. New test kit for COD was already sent to Yap from Japan. So let us see the result…

Laundromat and environment #2

How we can purify the bubbled water with a lot of chemical materials?

We asked help to Professor Nakano at Nihon University in Japan.

It is of course important to have clean clothes for comfortable life but just take a look of the backside of the laundromat and follow the situation of waste water.

He is a professional on “artificial wetland” to purify the waste water.

He kindly came to Yap in 2017 and since then, he has been supporting our activities.

With his suggestion, we use a big tank for the filtering. In the 1,500 gallons tank, we set sand and coconut fiber inside for three layers. All the mechanism was set in December 2022.

Now the tank is working to purify the waste water.

Laundromat and environment #1

Did you see the back side of the laundromat? Let us see the situation together.

In Yap, many laundromats are in active every day and demand for washing is still increasing.

It is of course important to have clean clothes for comfortable life but just take a look of the backside of the laundromat and follow the situation of waste water.

Some chemicals from the detergents are harmful for the environment and human. Careful use of chemical detergent is one of the key to protect environment and your health.

Collection stared

夜の海でナマコ686個体を収集

  • Collection stared

 2020年1月24日、TRCTのKenとJanice、メルール村のDavid、ミクロネシアカレッジのElijanとSalven CMが、メルール村沖に設けられたナマコの養殖場で、夜間のナメコ収集作業を行いました。これに、エコプラスの大前と後藤が同行しました。

 晴れて明るい夕方、船で現地に着いた私たちは、暗くなるのを待ちました。夜になると、それまで砂に潜っていたナマコが出てくるというのです。水深は1m前後、大人の胸ぐらいの深さです。約100m四方を網で仕切って養殖場が設置されていました。

 網の中に入って、頭を水の中に沈めます。私はジャニスとペアになって、水中ライトを持つ係となりました。海底を照らしても、なかなかナマコは見つかりません。細い葉を持った海藻が繁っていて、その根本にいるナマコはなかなか見つけられません。砂を巻き上げると視界が悪くなるので、そーっと歩き、静かに潜らないといけません。

 その中でジャニスは、次々にナマコを見つけていきます。びっくりする早さでした。後で聞いたところ、3年前にプロジェクトが始まった時には、彼女はこわくてナマコを触ることもできなかったそうです。

 4時間の作業で捕まえたナマコは、686匹にもなりました。数を数えたあと、ボートで移動しながら、ナマコを浅瀬の藻が生えた場所に放流しました。

 この作業は、養殖場のナマコを全て捕まえ、放流することで一区切りとなります。すべてのナマコを捕まえて放流し、仕切りの網を修理して次の養殖プロジェクトを始めるのだそうです。

 大変な作業でしたが、夜の海の上で見上げた星空は、とってもきれいでした。

(ECOPLUS/TRCT 現地ボランティアスタッフ 後藤はるか)

Collection stared

Sea Cucumber Collection in the Dark

On January 24, Ken, Janice of TRCT, David of Meerur village, Elijan and Salven of College of Micronesia, COM, conducted sea cucumber collection work in night time at the sea cucumber farm just out of the beach of the village. Jun and myself of ECOPLUS joined the operation.

It was very clear evening. We waited until it was getting dark on the boat, since sea cucumbers would come out from the sand in the darkness.
The depth of the water was about chest level. the farm area was like 100 meters square, and was separated by net from outside.

Inside of the net, we put our head into the water. Janice and I made a pair, and I helped her carrying a flash light. With flashlight we tried to find sea cucumbers. It was difficult to identify sea cucumbers inside of dense long sea weed leaves. We also needed to walk and dive gently not to disturb water and sands to keep the visibility.

I surprised how fast Janice was to find and catch sea cucumbers. However, later, she said that she could not touch a sea cucumber when the project started three years ago.

Through out four hours in the ocean, we collected 686 sea cucumbers. After counting numbers, we released those into open water area.

This was the final work of the sea cucumber farming project. After releasing all grown sea cucumbers from the farm, the net wall will be reported and another farming project will be started.

It was really tough work. But we observed see so many stars over the ocean.

Reported by GOTO Haruka, a volunteer staff of ECOPLUS/TRCT, a student of WASEDA University, Tokyo

Rain Water System completed at Tamil Elementary School

Rain Water Harvesting, RWH, system under Readiness for El Niño, RENI, project held by The Pacific Community, SPC, at Tamil community was completed and the training session was held on Jan 28, 2020.

As a part of RENi, supported by European Union, the tanks were set in November 2019 at Tamil Elementary School and since then the experimental operation of the system has been conducted until now. Specialists from Fiji checked the status of the system this time and also conducted the training session toward the community members.

On Tuesday, school teachers, coordinators of Tamil Resources Conservation Trust, TRCT, and other community members joined the specialists and Mr. Sean Gaarad, the country coordinator for SPC as well as the president of TRCT, at the cafeteria of the school and learnt the mechanism of and ways to maintain the system.

Rain over the roof is gathered through gutter and objects, like leaves, are removed through meshed funnel called “leaf eater” then water is filtered by sand. After the purification, water is stored in four tanks which can hold 1,500 litters in each. The full amount of water will support community members providing 3 littles of clean water for each for up to three weeks.

In the Pacific region, a serious El Niño was recorded in 2016 and raise serious droughts in several islands for up to 11 months. In Yap, no rain was recorded for months in the year and in Tamil serious wild fires burnt almost 1 kilometer square area.

EU set the project RENi from 2017-2020, providing 4 million Euro to set water tanks for the emergency in several island communities through SPC.

Reported by GOTO Haruka, a volunteer staff of ECOPLUS/TRCT, a student of WASEDA University, Tokyo

Related story on the installation of the system at Kapingamarangi atoll in Pohnpei state, FSM

干ばつ対策の雨水タンクが完成

タミル小学校で保守の研修を実施

 近年連続している極端な干ばつによる水不足に対応するための雨水タンクが、タミル小学校に設置され、2020年1月28日にその保守作業の研修が行われました。

 欧州連合(EU)が2020年までの3年計画で400万ユーロ(約5億円)を投じ、太平洋諸国が設立した国際機関The Pacific Community、略称SPCが実施主体となって、島々にタンクを設置する事業の一環。タミル地区のタンクは、昨年11月に設置され、試験運用が始まっていました。今回は、専門家が現地を訪れ、危機が正常に動いているのを確認すると同時に、地元で保守が出来るよう研修を行いました。

 この日、小学校の教師3人のほか、SPCのミクロネシア担当であるショーン・ガアラッドさん(TRCTの会長でもあります)、TRCTのコーディネータ3人、地元住民2人などが集まり、技術者からタンクの仕組みを教わりました。

 水は、小学校のカフェテリアの屋根から、といを伝って集められ、木の葉っぱなどを取り除く網を通った後、大きさの違う砂などを通ってろ過され、1本1,500リットルが入るタンク4本に蓄えられます。

 このタンクで地元民が毎日最低3リットルの飲料水を使いながら3週間以上生存できるように設計されています。

 太平洋諸国では2016年に大規模なエルニーニョ現象が起きたのをきっかけに、地域によっては11カ月雨が降らないという干ばつに襲われました。ヤップ島でもこの年の2月から5月までカラカラ天気が続き、タミル地区では大規模な山火事まで発生。約1キロメートル四方が黒焦げになるという事態も起きています。

 エルニーニョ現象では、太平洋の赤道東部の海水温が高くなり、ヤップ島を含む西側で干ばつが起きるとされています。このため、EUがエルニーニョ対策プロジェクト(Readiness for El Niño, RENI)を始めたのでした。

(現地ボランティアスタッフ 後藤はるか)

RENiプロジェクトでのカピンガマリンガ環礁でのタンク設置の様子(英語)

ナマコ730個体を計測し、自然界に放流

 1月20、21日、TRCTは、College of Micronesia(COM)のCooperative Research & Extention(CRE)と共同で、これまで養殖をしてきたナマコの計測作業をサポートしました。
 3年前から、COM-CREとTRCTはタミル地区西方のメルール村の沖合いに養殖場を設置し、Sand fish(学名:Holothuria scarba)という種類のナマコを養殖してきました。養殖の初期は小さな受精卵でしたが、今では20cm前後の個体もあるほど見事に成長しました。

 2日間の作業で、730のナマコが計測のために浅瀬の養殖場から村のメンズハウスに持ち込まれました。すべてのナマコの体長と体重の計測後、村の沖の藻が生えている浅い海へ放されました。

 この調査の目的は、ナマコの成長速度を確認することです。本来ナマコはヤップの海にはたくさんいたのですが、中国への輸出を目的とする乱獲によって、絶滅寸前まで追い込まれました。
 この状況を改善することを視野に、この養殖プロジェクトはCOM-CREとサポーターのTRCTによって始まりました。

 COM-CREの専門家によると、ナマコは「海の掃除屋」と呼ばれるそうです。ナマコは陸から流れ込んできた堆積物を食べ、フィルターのように排出します。ナマコは海を健康に保つために重要な役割を果たします。十分な数のナマコがいなければ、海水が濁り、日光が届かないために暗くなります。そうなると、サンゴが育つことができません。健康なサンゴは魚や他の海の生きもののより良い生息地となるのです。

(現地ボランティアスタッフ・後藤はるか)

Over 700 Farmed Sea Cucumbers Measured and Released

On Jan 20 and 21, TRCT members supported measuring operation of sea cucumbers by Cooperative Research & Extension (CRE) of College of Micronesia (COM).

Off the beach of Meerur village, COM-CRE and TRCT set a farming area and many cucumbers, called Sandfish, or “Holothuria scabra,” were farmed in past three years. At the beginning of the faming, those were just tiny fertilized eggs, now they grew big up to 8-inch or 20-cm long.

Through the operation in two days, over 700 cucumbers were collected from the shallow farming area and were brought back to the men’s house of the village for the measurement. After checking the size and weight of all, they were released to the open water.

The aim of the research is to identify the growth rate of the sea cucumber. Originally the sea cucumbers were very common in Yap water, however over catch of those intended to ship to China made those almost extinct in the ocean.

In 2017, the project started by COM-CRE with TRCT as a partner. Sea cucumbers are called as an “ocean cleaner,” according to specialists at COM-CRE. They eat sedimentation, and discharge sand, like a sand filter. Sea cucumbers play an important role to keep the ocean healthy. Without healthy number of sea cucumbers, the ocean would be dirty and dark, and coral could not grow. Healthy corals support healthier habitat of fishes and other sea creatures.

(Reported by GOTO Haruka, student of Waseda University)

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