The tiny island of Ikema, Japan lies more than a thousand miles southwest of Tokyo and is a popular destination for tourists, who are drawn to its crystal blue waters, vibrant coral reefs, and lush green scenery. Unfortunately, the island is also a big draw for marine debris from all over Asia. Everything from plastic bottles to fishing tackle to styrofoam food containers is washing up on the islands shores and its coming in ever increasing amounts. Filmmaker Atsuko Quirk says that the amount of marine debris washing up on Ikema beaches grew tenfold in the years between 1998 and 2005.

Ikema residents have been diligent in cleaning up the waste after it washes ashore and even bought an incinerator to burn it off, but they're having trouble staying on top of the growing mountain of trash. Quirk first read a news story about the island and their struggles with trash and was so moved by their plight that she flew there to document the situation.

She is raising money on Kickstarter to complete her documentary, titled "It's Everybody's Ocean". One of the unique things about her project is that she's actually producing two versions of the documentary—one in English and the other in Japanese. They won't simply be one movie with two different language voiceovers; each will be shot and edited to reflect the different cultural, lifestyle, and environmental perspectives of western and Japanese viewers.

Here is her pitch video:

Quirk has already reached her goal of $6,500 with six days to go, but has outlined what she can do if she's able to raise more. If she hits $8,000, she'll be able to shoot more footage on Ikema as well as set up more screenings of her film on the East Coast once it's done. If she hits $10,000, she'll be able to have screenings in California, Tokyo, and Ikema itself.

This is a good project for not only raising awareness of Ikema's struggles, but for casting light on the wider issue of marine waste. Every day we are adding uncountable tons of plastic waste to our oceans that we will never be able to clean up. As long as we keep using non-biodegradable materials to build our Societal Stuff, we're going to make the problem worse.

If you would like to support Quirk and her project, please click over to Kickstarter and do so.

Want to read more about marine waste? Check out these articles here on MNN:

The 8th continent: Pacific Ocean garbage patch

Sea trash spiraling out of control, study finds

What is the Great Pacific Ocean Patch?

Are you on TwitterFollow me (@sheagunther) there, I give good tweets. And if you really like my writing, you can join my Facebook page and visit my homepage.

Shea Gunther is a podcaster, writer, and entrepreneur living in Portland, Maine. He hosts the popular podcast "Marijuana Today Daily" and was a founder of Renewable Choice Energy, the country's leading provider of wind credits and Green Options. He plays a lot of ultimate frisbee and loves bad jokes.

Kickstarter project tells the story of Ikema, the tiny Japanese island buried by plastic trash
Filmmaker Atsuko Quirk is raising funds to document a tiny Japanese island's fight against the tons of marine debris washing up on their beaches.