Japanese Tsunami Debris Arriving on Oregon and Washington Coast
Published: 06/20/2012
images courtesy of www.marinedebris.noaa.gov

Exploring the Oregon or Washington coast? What to do if you find possible Japan tsunami debris.

As a result of the Japanese tsunami disaster, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) expects a portion of the debris that the tsunami washed into the ocean to reach U.S. and Canadian shores over the next several years. NOAA is partnering with federal, state, and local organizations to collect data in an effort to lessen the impact on coastal communities.

You can help by reporting any debris you think may have washed ashore from the Japan tsunami. If you see small debris, like bottles, aluminum, or Styrofoam, remove the debris from the beach and recycle as much as possible. Many coastal communities are making dumpsters or other disposal containers available at area drop spots. If you encounter larger, hazardous, or unmanageable debris, it could pose a safety risk and should be left alone and reported to local authorities.

NOAA cautions beach goers to be safe and follow general safety guidelines that they would normally follow. If you don't know what an item is, don't touch it. If it appears hazardous, contact appropriate authorities.

Marine debris items or significant accumulations potentially related to the tsunami can be reported to DisasterDebris@noaa.gov with as much information as possible (including its location, the date and time you found it, photos, and any relevant descriptions). It is important to remember that not all debris found on U.S. shorelines is from Japan, so please use your discretion when reporting items.


Litter and other typical marine debris items
Examples: Plastic bottles, aluminum cans, buoys, Styrofoam Common marine debris types may vary by location. If practical, we encourage you to remove the debris and recycle as much of it as possible.

Potential hazardous materials (HAZMAT)
Examples: Oil or chemical drums, gas cans, propane tanks.
Contact your local authorities (a 911 call), a state environmental health agency, and the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802 to report the item with as much information as possible. Do not touch the item or attempt to move it. Do not contact DisasterDebris@noaa.gov for response assistance

Derelict vessel or other large debris item
Examples: Adrift fishing boat, shipping containers
Contact your local authorities (a 911 call) and state environmental health agency to report the item. If the debris item is a hazard to navigation, contact the US Coast Guard Pacific Area Command at 510-437-3701 for assistance. Do not attempt to move or remove vessels.

Mementos or possessions
Examples: Items with unique identifiers, names, or markings
If an item can 1) be traced back to an individual or group and 2) has personal or monetary value, it should be reported to DisasterDebris@noaa.gov. NOAA will work with local Japan consulates to determine if they can help identify its owner.

It is highly unlikely that remains from the tsunami will reach the United States, but if you see human remains anywhere, contact local authorities (a 911 call) and report what you observed. Do not touch or attempt to move them.

Unknown item
If you don't know what it is, don't touch it. If you believe it is a hazardous item, contact local authorities and report it.

Japanese Tsunami Debris Arriving on Oregon and Washington Coast