Preparing for Tsunami Debris, Wherever It May Make Landfall
First came the stuff that floats on the surface and is pushed by wind: Buoys, a soccer ball, flotation devices. And, most notably, a rust-stained unmanned fishing trawler in Alaskan waters.
Communities in Alaska, Hawaii, the West Coast and Canada are preparing for the main event from debris pushed offshore by last year’s massive Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
About 70% of the debris sank, according to Japanese government estimates.
No one knows how much of the remaining 1.5 million tons of debris is still floating in the Pacific Ocean.
But U.S. and state officials say that some items washing ashore may be from the disaster, which took place 13 months ago and nearly 5,000 miles away. Thousands of people were killed.
“Our models show the outer edge of the debris is at the West Coast and Alaska now,” Nancy Wallace, program director and division chief of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program, said Wednesday. The bulk of the debris is north of Hawaii, slowly moving east.
Japan says 70% of the debris sank. Where do they get these figures? Even so, 1.5 million tons of debris give or take a hundred tons here or there perhaps, is headed our way and our side of the Pacific is about to get very messy.
To say the least:
The top concern is whether radioactive material from the Fukushima nuclear power plant will make landfall.
And how is that radioactivity affecting ocean enthusiasts throughout the Pacific region? I’ll let you know if I start glowing.