Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What the Heck – Huge Trash Pile from Japan’s Tsunami to Wash Up on U. S. and Canadian Beaches

Just More Japanese Exports to Flood America

There are a number of problems everyone would like to think don’t exist.  One of these is what happens to all that debris that was created by the tsunami last year that was devastating to Japan.  There is a lot of debris, a whole lot.

The March 11 disaster, which killed almost 20,000 people, generated tens of millions of tons of wreckage, most of which remained on land. But it also swept an estimated 5 million tons of debris out to sea, 70 percent of which later sank.

Floating junkyard, straight ahead!
Debris left by the 2011 tsunami is piled up in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, northeastern Japan. Tsunami debris is now washing up on the West Coast of the U.S. (Credit: AP/Itsuo Inouye)

In fact, there is so much that while even only a small percentage is going to make its way across the Pacific, that small percentage is still a huge environmental problem.

The fate of the remaining 1.5 million tons is causing concern in communities from Alaska to California, amid warning that the trickle of debris arriving on US shores could soon turn into a deluge.

Japan’s environment ministry says it expects about 33,000 tons of debris washed away by the tsunami to reach the western coast of North America by next June.

What’s in this mess?  Obviously it is stuff that floats.  And in the world of garbage, stuff that floats is not good stuff.

They include lumber, buoys, plastic barrels, fishing nets and equipment, and Styrofoam. 

As for the cleanup, who gets the bill?  The American taxpayer, really did you have to ask?  And as for stopping it, Republican legislators have gone on record as blaming the impending arrival of trash as a failure of the Obama administration's immigration policies, and that Democrats favor amnesty for illegal garbage.

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