Japan to help Canada clean up tsunami debris: report
Published Monday, September 3, 2012 7:35PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 4, 2012 10:40PM EDT
The Japanese government could draft plans as early as the end of September to help Canada and the U.S. clean up debris from the catastrophic 2011 tsunami that has been recently washing up on the Pacific coastline.
“A huge amount of debris is expected to reach around this fall. So we want to come up with measures to be taken as soon as possible," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura at a news conference on Monday.
According to a report from Japanese newspaper Nikkei, the Japanese government could cover part of the cost of cleaning up the debris from the earthquake-tsunami disaster.
Since March, debris from the disaster -- including a floating bridge, boat, large dock and shipping containers -- has been washing up along the North American Pacific coast.
Experts estimate that around 1.5 million tons of wreckage from the disaster are heading for North America’s Pacific coastline.
Oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer told CTV News Channel in August that he expects the bulk of the debris to wash up in the fall and winter.
“I think it’s going start big time in October and then probably January and February could reach a peak,” he said. “I’m particularly concerned about those shores along the outer Vancouver coast that nobody gets to.”
One of the more famous pieces of debris, a rust-covered 2004 Harley-Davidson Night Train bike, was discovered in April on the shores of B.C.’s Haida Gwaii beach.
The bike’s owner was located and contacted in Japan, but he declined to have the bike shipped back to him. Instead the owner asked that it be made into a memorial for the victims of the tragedy.
The bike was selected to be part of the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee.
Environmental groups say the issue of what to do with tsunami debris has focused attention on the much larger problem of debris in the world’s oceans.
Mary Crowley of The Ocean Voyages Institute told The Canadian Press in August that while the tsunami debris poses risks to the ocean, it pales in comparison to the huge amount of debris already floating in oceans.
Particularly troublesome is a massive field of floating plastic – often called the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” – that’s roughly the size of Texas, said Crowley.
The field of plastic is located between Hawaii and California in the northern Pacific Ocean.
With files from The Canadian Press