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Japanese Tsunami Debris: What Beachgoers Need to Know

Posted by Jody on January 31, 2013

Yaquina Bay, Oregon Coast

Yaquina Bay, Oregon Coast

Will you be heading to the beaches of North America’s West Coast this year? Beachcombing is one of the greatest pleasures for seashore enthusiasts, and the West Coast is well known for delighting us with a bounty of beautiful beach treasures! From driftwood to Giant Rock Scallops and sand dollars to polished agates, Mother Nature uses time, tides, and currents to provide us with the most fascinating finds.

Beachcombers in Hawaii, and from California to Alaska, might also expect to find an increased amount of ocean debris washed onto beaches over the next few years. According to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), due to the massive 9.0 Japanese earthquake and devastating tsunami of March, 2011, tsunami caused marine debris is already arriving on our Pacific shores. (Check out NOAA’s Tsunami Debris Sighting map.)

NOAA is leading efforts with federal, state, and local partners to collect data, assess the debris, and reduce possible impacts to our natural resources and coastal communities.

There is no reason to avoid beaches. Radiation experts believe it is highly unlikely any debris is radioactive, and the debris is not in a mass. Beachgoers may notice an increase in debris near-shore or on the coast, adding to the marine debris that washes up every day. The public should continue to visit and enjoy our coasts—and help keep them clean.

Sign posted at Yaquina Bay, Oregon

Tsunami Debris Watch sign posted at Yaquina Bay, Oregon

Ocean Conservancy has a wonderful website which includes an abundance of interesting and informative topics having to do with the expected arrival of tsunami debris. Subjects include:

 

Tsunami Debris 101

Get straight answers to the facts and myths of tsunami debris and what we can do to help.

 

What is Tsunami Debris?

How can you tell tsunami debris from regular ocean trash? Our scientist has the answers.

 

Tsunami Debris Field Guide

Learn about the most common items that have been washing onto beaches in large numbers.

We always try to encourage our fellow beachcombers and shore dreamers to “know before you go!”

Tsunami DebrisFind it. Bag it. Leave it. Now we know!

~~~~~

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7 Responses to “Japanese Tsunami Debris: What Beachgoers Need to Know”

  1. Very good information for all of us! But what to do if there’s an especially darling seashell among the debris?? That might be a moral dilemma (haha)

  2. Jody this is completely off-topic for this post, but I thought you may be interested in this (which I heard on the radio this morning):

    http://news.sky.com/story/1045585/whale-vomit-found-on-dog-walk-worth-100000

  3. kiwiskan said

    Good informative post

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