The couple, Kim Yong-gyu and Moon Soo-jung, loves the sea. They nest in Gangneung, enjoy walking on the beach. They are not just enjoying the romance of the sea but also collecting garbage while walking on the sandy beach. Their garbage bag gets full even after walking on the beach. The couple says they started because they they do not want trash pushed into the sea. Dong-A Pharm's "Bacchus-F" advertisement, where they collect garbage in the sea and on the shore, is giving a big message to people.
"When I got my first ad offer, I said I wouldn't do it. But I accepted it when the advertising company said that it could be an opportunity to tell them that the problem of sea trash is serious."
This couple became interested in marine trash from their experience in scuba diving. While working as a scuba diving instructor, Kim Yong-gyu often visited the sea, and one day, garbage in the sea began to stand out.
"When I came home, I talked to the guide about the problem, and my interest in sea trash grew. I was surprised to see a lot of garbage when I was walking the river near my house. It was three years ago that after deciding to reduce sea trash while living on the beach, a company called Oceankind, which studies marine trash and organisms, was moved to Gangneung."
Start picking up trash to protect marine life
They visited not only Gangneung but also beaches in the South Sea and West Sea. In Tongyeong, Namhae, styrofoam from oyster farms filled the sea, hangover-relieving drinks appeared as junk in Jeongdongjin, and many pesticide bottles appeared on the beach directly connected to the river. Also, firecracker plastic casing appeared in every beach that this couple visited.
"At first, I thought it was a piece of straw. I found out later that it was a casing after bursting firecrackers. There are a lot of casings in the sea as well as on the beach."
Kim Yong-gyu pointed out that when plastic pieces melt, they turn into microplastic, which float in the sea and eventually return to humans, causing threat to mankind. Not long ago, we picked up trash at Gangneung Beach with about 20 people for 30 minutes, and more than 5,000 casings were discovered. The two classify the collected garbage by type and post it on Instagram with the intention of protecting the sea. A while ago, an exhibition was held by collecting photographs taken in Gangneung.
"There were a lot of parents who brought their children to the exhibition. We were really proud when we said that we were interested in the environment. I hope that people who realized the seriousness of the photos of the garbage we uploaded would not use plastic or disposables."
The couple's interest in sea trash naturally changed life. Before picking up the trash, always keep a tumbler with the thought of not making trash at all, and try not to use a plastic bottle.
“A foreigner I met a while ago said, 'Korea is a country where you can drink clean water at any time for free.' If you have a tumbler, you can fill it anytime, anywhere."
Kim Yong-gyu once again emphasized that it is important to change our lifestyle and improve the production process of factories in a way that reduces waste rather than picking them up.
I hope our actions will be part of a lifestyle, not a special occasion.
When the couple were advertising, people clamored that the couple was great. Yet, they stayed humble, claiming that what they do was not special at all.
"Everyone can do what they can in their own lives. Someone who saw our advertisement picked up neighborhood trash with his son. He said he was surprised to see more trash than he thought, but that's the beginning. I think it's the beginning. I believe it will create change little by little if you try not to make garbage on your line."
The two of them are currently working on a project to pick up trash at the beach in Gangneung with people who are interested in marine debris. They are also gathering materials related to marine debris, holding workshops, and giving environmental lectures. Yong-gyu Kim is more active as a sea trash solver than a scuba diving instructor. "The reason we try so hard to report the seriousness of sea trash is because we want their actions to be natural, not special."
"I'm talking about trash right now, but what we're really interested in is marine life. I wanted to do something that preserves marine life, but right now, getting rid of the trash that harms marine life has become a priority. We are dreaming of organizing an expedition to help research marine life and improve the aquatic environment."
Yong-gyu Kim and Soo-jung Moon go out to the beach to pick up trash, saying they want to protect the sea. The two are the first expedition crew they dream of.