Saturday, June 9, 2012

Japanese Tsunami Debris

Debris continues to wash up on the west coast of North America from the Japanese tsunami in March, 2011. Here at home, in Newport, Oregon, a commercial dock swept up on a popular beach this week.

While scientists expect much of the floating debris to follow prevailing currents to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an accumulation of millions of tons of small bits of plastic floating in the northern Pacific, tsunami debris that can catch the wind is making its way to North America. In recent weeks a soccer ball washed up in Alaska and a Harley Davidson motorcycle in a shipping container was found in British Columbia, Canada.

The immediate concern was that invasive species from Japan living on the dock could find a new home here. The dock has been stripped of a ton and a half of marine organisms and awaits it's fate. A poignant reminder of how interconnected our diverse ecosystem is.


doryman said...

I wonder about radiation containment efforts at the damaged nuclear power plant. Haven't heard much lately.
We're downwind of that too.

robert.ditterich said...

The arrival of that floating dock even made it to some of our better news channels down here. I thought it sounded as if it was in your neck of the woods.

Had no idea about the tons of material hitching a ride on it though.

doryman said...

The best article I've seen was from the BBC. Go figure.

The marine biology people scraped all the sea life off and buried it above high tide. Then they sterilized the barge with torches. We take this invasive species thing seriously around here.

Personally, I think that's a lost cause, with all the global shipping we promote.

If you put something in the water stuff grows on it. When looking at the teaming life growing on a dock, I often wonder how nourishing that bumper crop might be.