The story on tsunami debris…
The Japanese tsunami has created a significant amount of debris floating onto the shores of many Washington beaches. Here’s some information from Brendan Cowan about what to do with what you find, who to contact about it, and some answers to important questions.
As of July 2, the federal agency had received 569 total reports of potential tsunami debris both along West Coast shorelines and from sightings at sea – including 43 from Washington during the past two weeks. Of the overall total, 10 have been confirmed as tsunami debris items. As this year and the following years progress, we are sure to see more debris wash up and need to be diligent about reporting it.
The state has opened a new toll-free phone line for citizens who spot the debris at 1-855-WACOAST (1-855-922-6278). If it looks like the typical trash (styrofoam, bottles, ect) chuck it, but if an item appears to have sentimental value please email disasterdebris(at)noaa.gov and move it to a safe location.
Speaking of moving it, it is highly unlikely that any of the debris will be radioactive or contain invasive species. But do use caution when removing barnacle-infested items as it’s easy to cut yourself on them (I have a very distinctive memory of stepping on barnacles while barefoot as a child…not a pleasant scenario.)
NOAA also encourages boaters to take pictures of floating debris, note the location where it was found, and email them at disasterdebris(at)noaa.gov.
It would be really great if we could all pitch in for people who have lost so much. An item may not look extremely well-made or important to us, but you never know what memories it can hold for a tsunami victim.