In the two years since a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, state and federal agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have done much to prepare for the potential arrival of tsunami debris.
The March 11, 2011, tragedy claimed nearly 16,000 lives, injured about 6,000 people and destroyed or damaged countless buildings. The Japanese government estimates the tsunami swept about 5 million tons of debris into the Pacific Ocean, but about 70 percent sank near shore shortly afterwards.
The remaining 1.5 million tons – much of it lumber and wood – dispersed far across the North Pacific Ocean, and some has reached U.S. shores – including Washington.
NOAA remains the best source for Japan tsunami marine debris information, including modeling predicting where and debris might arrive, protocols for handling marine debris, and frequently asked questions and answers about tsunami debris.
NOAA is collaborating with state, federal, tribal and local partners to collect data, assess the debris, and reduce possible tsunami debris impacts to our coastal communities and natural resources.
Participate in March 6 ‘Tweetchat’
NOAA will hold a ‘Tweetchat’ to talk about tsunami debris with Nancy Wallace, Director for NOAA’s Marine Debris Program, on Wednesday, March 6 starting at noon Pacific Time (3 p.m. Eastern Time).
To participate, Tweet your questions to @NOAAdebris using hashtag #TsunamiDebris
Get answers to questions such as:
- What types of debris are expected to reach U.S. shores and where?
- Is the debris radioactive?
- What should I do if I see debris?
Other information resourcesMore general tsunami debris information is available at NOAA's Information and FAQs page.
Learn more about Washington State efforts here: http://marinedebris.wa.gov/