Saturday, September 02, 2006

Japanese sand dunes under attack

The famous sand dunes of Japan's Tottori coast are under attack by weeds.

In the last five years, the sand dunes are estimated to have shrunk by tens of thousands of cubic yards. New seawalls nearby have changed the currents that long carried sand to the dunes, and the lack of fresh sand appears to have made it easier for rainfall to accumulate and previously unseen weeds to grow.

In response, the prefectural government has sent out a call for volunteers to help with the weeding, and many have answered. One volunteer says the combination of the dunes and the weeding is an ideal stress-buster:

“My stress level goes up when I’m busy working or when I’m dealing with people,” he said. “When my work increases, I feel stressed. Weeding — I can do at my own pace. The sand dunes soothe my soul.”

—Mellow Monk

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