Chapter 4: Environmental volunteer activities in local waste management
People clean up streets and parks in their locality on a daily basis. If they stop community cleanup, the government will have to replace such services. Many recycling programs demand the separation of recyclables at the household level. If the households do not separate the recyclables from household waste, the recycling programs will not work effectively. The extent of community-supporting activities is not negligible. For example, Ocean Conservancy (2011) reports that more than eight and a half million volunteers have cleaned up their local beaches, lakes, rivers and waterways for the past 25 years and have removed 145 million pounds of trash in over 150 countries. A survey conducted by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan (2009) reports that 2.79 million tons of recyclables were collected through group collection programs in 2009, accounting for 29.4 percent of the total recyclables collected in Japan. The above-mentioned examples show that community-supporting activities are important for local waste management. Nevertheless, the government cannot expect full support from the local residents. Since time is required for such activities, only a certain proportion of residents participate in them on a voluntary basis. The purposes of this chapter are to (1) find the characteristics of environmental volunteers and (2) identify the factors that affect their engagement. Who spends time for cleanup or recycling activities? What induces people to environmental volunteer activities (EVAs)? Are EVAs different from other volunteer activities?
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