Debris from the Japanese tsunami has begun to wash ashore alongAlaska s outer beaches to a dramatic extent delivering floats,barrels, gunk plus one errant soccer ball recovered on Middleton Island, according to Facebook posts, newsreports and eyewitness accounts from around the region. The tragic flotsam from one of the worst disasters of the newcentury has been arriving months earlier than originally predictedby models based on the behavior of ocean currents with the windscooting the stuff thousands of miles across the surface of the seaat surprising speed. It s safe to say that tsunami debris is here, Marine Conservation Alliance director Merrick Burden told Kodiak fisheries journalist LaineWelch last week in an interview that appeared in her Fish Factor column. What we re finding are wind driven objects like buoys,Styrofoam, and large containers, some of which contain materialsthat are potentially toxic, Burden added. |
We re finding drumsfull of things that we don t know what they are yet. So we relooking at a potential large-scale environmental problem, and whatwe re dealing with now is just the start of it. With gale warnings and eight-foot seas dominating Gulf weather, fewnew reports have come in since last week, Burden told AlaskaDispatch on Tuesday. "The only thing is out of Cordova, where I m told 'there areliterally thousands of styrofoam cylinders approximately the sizeof a 55-gallon barrel'" he said in an email message.
"We can tverify whether it s tsunami debris or not, but it s certainlyunusual." People have been posting news and photos of possible tsunami debrisat the SeaAlliance / Restoring our Shores Facebook page about marine debris sponsored by Junuea's Marine Conservation Alliance . Photos from Yakutat (and here ) showed weird black gunk, a new large float on the shore and otherdisconcerting material. And it keeps coming. While impossible to immediately confirm a tsunami link, new trashof Japanese origins littered a beach east of Narrow Cape near theKodiak Launch Complex on Tuesday afternoon. The items observed byAlaska Dispatch photographer Loren Holmes included empty bottles ofJapanese-made Pocari Sweat energy drink and one 500-watt light bulbprinted with Japanese characters.
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