Debris Continues to Hit Western Coast 4 Years After Japan Tsunami

March 18, 2015

Four years after a deadly earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, debris is still washing ashore in the Northeastern U.S. states of Oregon and Washington. Scientists predict it will continue to arrive for at least the next three years.

An estimated 1 million tons of tsunami debris is still floating in the Pacific Ocean.

KGW-TV of Portland, Oregon, reports beach cleanup volunteers found baskets and lots of kitchen items this past year. They’ve hauled away truckloads of trash and artifacts.

The first pieces of debris to float across the Pacific Ocean included light items like chunks of foam that could easily be carried by the wind. Heavier items sitting lower in the water, like wood and tires, soon followed.

Since June 2012, Oregon’s Tsunami Debris Hotline has received 1,742 phone calls.

Researchers from Tattori University for Environmental Studies in Japan have been working with Oregon State University to track the movement of tsunami debris.

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