The Spogomi arrives in Spain: this is the Japanese sport of garbage collection

The Japanese, always at the forefront of innovative initiatives, have given birth to a new sport. Is he spogomi, a contraction of the words sport and ‘gomi’, which means garbage. It simply consists of a small team of people who must try to collect the largest amount of waste in a given period of time. The one who manages to accumulate the most amount is the winner.

The SpoGomi is an event born in Japan in 2008 that combines sport and activism in defense of the environment. The word comes from the terms Sport and Gomihiroi (which means garbage collection in Japanese).

After 15 years celebrating the SpoGomi championship in the Japanese country, this 2023 the competition has been taken to twenty countries around the world, including France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Italy, Brazil, Canada, the United States, Thailand and Vietnam , among others.

Now it comes to Spain for the first time, because Next Sunday, June 18, the Spanish phase of the SpoGomi World Cup will be held. This first edition in Spain will take place in the city of Barcelona and will qualify for the world championship to be held in Japan in November.

The competition is organized by the Association for the Conservation of Natural Ecosystems (CEN), Plastic Attack Barcelona and The Nippon Foundation. Participation is free, inclusive (suitable for wheelchair users, for example) and open to everyone, you just need to make a group of three people who meet the conditions and register at the following link:

The maximum amount of waste in an hour

During the test on June 18, Some thirty teams (made up of three people each and accompanied by a judge at all times) will have to collect the maximum amount of waste for one hour.

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Next, the teams will have 20 minutes to classify the collected waste into the different recycling fractions before presenting it to the jury. The score is determined according to the weight of the amount of residues obtained and the type of residue. “For example, cigarette butts get the highest score because they are small and weigh little, but they are very harmful to the environment and health,” explains Ricard Rodríguez, one of the event’s managers.

The organization will provide reusable bags from the Let’s Clean Up Europe campaign to collect the waste, reusable gloves and tongs to pick up the waste. Event t-shirts will also be provided that participants will have to wear during the competition.

The regulations of the SPOGOMI competition have been designed to give equal conditions to all participants regardless of physical condition and age, so that teamwork and strategy are prioritized, so that “any team can win”.

The prize, go to the World Cup in Japan

The winning team will get an all-expenses-paid trip to Tokyo to participate in the SpoGomi world championship from November 20 to 23 of this year.

The SPOGOMI regulations are very strict and some of the regulations include the prohibition of running and the obligation to maintain a distance of less than 10 meters between members of the same team. Among the types of waste admitted are plastic containers, glass bottles, cardboard boxes, cigarette butts or organic remains, among others. However, The collection of bulky or dangerous objects is not allowed.

“We are finding a very good reception among the population of Barcelona. The idea is that this test becomes common in Spain and people become aware of it”, according to Rodríguez. This co-organizer recalls that “even if a space seems to be clean, there is always loose debris around”, as is shown every time a SpoGomi competition is held.

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