25 June 2007- GSA's Tennis Ball Reuse Program that sends used balls to schools around Japan to be attached to the bottoms of tables and chairs in an effort to reduce noise and floor damage, marked the 2000th school to be involved in the project with a special ceremony on Monday.
Part of the Sports-Eco.Net project that aims to 'reduce, reuse and recycle' sports equipment, GSA has been sending used tennis balls to schools around Japan since February 2000. Fixed to the bottoms of tables and chairs, the balls has proven effective in creating a better learning atmosphere through noise reduction, as well as saving on wear and tear to the classroom floor. Included as a practical "hands on" activity to supplement environmental educational programs, the activity teaches about the need to make the most of the earth's valuable resources.
The scheme has been especially popular in schools with hearing-impaired children, as hearing aids are especially sensitive to sudden loud noises. In the seven years since its inception, more than 2.4 million tennis balls have been re-distributed to the 2000 schools, and in recent years the program has attracted attention from educational facilities in Europe and North America, wanting to get involved in similar programs there.
Takanawa Primary School in Minato Ward, Tokyo was the 2000th school to register for the program, and a special ceremony was held in front of the whole school on 25 June to mark the occasion.
Hitoshi Suzuki of NEC Corporation, a major contributor to the program, attended the ceremony, presenting School Principal, Fumitoshi Inoue with a commemorative tennis balls. In a call to protect our natural environment, Mr. Suzuki said. "At NEC we'll continue calling on our nationwide branches to collect the used tennis balls and hope they are fixed to the tables and chairs with care."
GSA Executive Director, Tatsuo Okada, presented the School Principal with an Ecoflag, explaining, "Rich nature is the foundation for clean air and water, and this flag is a symbol of our desire to live in a society where we can enjoy sport in a clean and healthy natural environment. I hope that these children will carry this knowledge into their adult lives."
Mr Inoue talked to the children about some important local plant species found in Minato Ward, such as the dogwood, hydrangea and rose, and added his call to protect the natural environment.
As the 2000th school, Takanawa Primary received 2000 used tennis balls, which will be fixed to desks and chairs in the coming days. They also plan to fly the Ecoflag at this year's school sports day this autumn.
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NPO Global Sports Alliance
Chairman: Yuichiro Miura
Executive Director: Tatsuo Okada
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