More about the tsunami debris headed our way

  • Fri Sep 7th, 2012 7:11pm
  • News

Reported by Bill Sheets / Herald Writer

More than 1,000 items have turned up on beaches in recent months from Alaska to California which might be debris from the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Only 11 items have been conclusively traced back to the tsunami so far — and only one of them was found in Washington.

A 20-foot fishing boat with Japanese writing on it washed up in June at Cape Disappointment in southwest Washington. The boat was later determined to have been lost during the tsunami in Japan.

As we reported Friday, the bulk of the debris is expected to start littering Washington shores in less than a month. When it hits, cleaning up much of it likely will fall on the shoulders of volunteers.

At right is a map with locations where other items have been reported. To find where items have been found in other states, go to marine tsunamidebris/debris_sightings.html.

If you find something

Use common sense. If you don’t know what an item is, don’t touch it. If it appears hazardous, contact authorities. In some areas, bags and trash bins will be available for collecting and disposing of debris.

In Washington, call 1-855-WACOAST (1-855-922-6278). Items also may be reported to

Japan tsunami by the numbers

8.9: Magnitude of quake that caused the tsunami March 10, 2011.

1.5 million: Estimated tons of debris drifting eastward in the Pacific Ocean.

1,095: Items reported as being possible debris from the tsunami.

11: Confirmed items from Japan, with only one so far in Washington.

$1.2 million: Budgeted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the state of Washington for tsunami marine debris clean-up.