Published On: Fri, Jun 8th, 2012

Garbage from the Japanese tsunami continues to wash up on the US shore

Debris from the Japanese tsunami is starting to wash ashore on the U.S. West Coast in a big way.

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Great Pacific Garbage Patch Photo/NOAA

Beachcombers from Northern California to Alaska are finding fishing floats, soccer balls and ships that have drifted thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean after being dragged to sea by the March 2011 tsunami, even a Harley-Davidson motorcycle that was traced back to a tsunami survivor.

The LA Times reports Jeff Larson saying that just about everything wash up on the shores of Santa Cruz: bottles, toys, shotgun shells, busted surfboards and fishing floats that looked like they had bobbed across the Pacific.

Marine scientists say a far bigger problem is the untold amount of everyday garbage swirling in a vast, slow-moving vortex known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (the nickname for the concentrated debris, mostly plastic, circling endlessly about 1,000 miles off the California coast.)

A study released last month found a 100-fold increase in plastic debris in the garbage patch over the past 40 years.

“I’m more concerned about our constant input of trash than I am about these one-time disasters,” lead author Miriam Goldstein, a graduate student at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, told the Los Angeles Times.

“We can’t prevent terrible events like the tsunami, but dumping plastic into the ocean is something we can control and don’t do very well,” Goldstein said.

Oregon State University researchers studying the floating dock that washed ashore this week discovered it was carrying a huge amount of barnacles, starfish, urchins, anemones, mussels, snails and algae from Japan.

All that biological material must be scraped off to prevent the spread of non-native and potentially harmful organisms to the United States.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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