NEWS RELEASE · 29th April 2011
M S Craven
A giant mass of floating debris swept out into the ocean by the Japanese tsunami is predicted to potentially reach the West Coast in three years. British Columbia needs to prepare for the floating debris that will threaten our coastline.
More than 200,000 buildings were swept out by the enormous waves which followed the March 11th 9.0 quake.
There have been reports of human remains, cars, tractor-trailers, capsized ships and whole houses floating in open waters.
Even more terrifying are the predictions of U.S. oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer, who expects human feet still in their shoes, to wash up on the West Coast within three years.
Mr.Ebbesmeyer, a Seattle oceanographer who has spent decades tracking flotsam, told reporters: “I'm expecting parts of houses, whole boats and feet in sneakers to wash up. Several thousand bodies were washed out to sea following the disaster and while most of the limbs will come apart and break down in the water, feet encased in shoes will float.”
“I'm expecting the unexpected,” he added.
Scientists have stated that the first bits of debris from Japan are due to reach the West Coast within a year's time after being carried by currents toward the West Coast of North America. They will then turn toward Hawaii and back again toward Asia, circulating in what is known as the North Pacific Gyre.
Mr.Ebbesmeyer stated: “If you put a major city through a trash grinder and sprinkle it on the water, that's what you're dealing with. If the items aren't blown ashore by winds or get caught up in another oceanic gyre, they'll continue to drift in the North Pacific loop and complete the circle in about six years.”
According to James Hevezi, chair of the American College of Radiology Commission on Medical Physics, some of the debris to hit the West Coast may be radioactive following the devastation at Japanese nuclear power plants.
Curt Peterson, a coastal oceanographer and professor of in the geology department at Portland State University in Oregon has said that “The material that is actually blown in will be a fraction of the tsunami debris. Some will break up in transit; a lot of it will miss the US coast. Also some will split up and head up to Gulf of Alaska and (British Columbia).”
“All this debris will find a way to reach the West Coast or stop in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch: a swirling mass of concentrated marine litter in the Pacific Ocean” said Luca Centurioni, a researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.
Much of the debris is plastic, which doesn't completely break down. That raises concerns about marine pollution and the potential harm to marine life. The Author has prepared a proposal which hopefully will be well received so British Columbia can prepare to protect its greatest resource of all, the coastline and marine life.
The currents in the Pacific Ocean that will push the debris around from Japan to the West Coast and then back again