13 Mar 2012
One year after the devastating tsunami in Japan sent a wall of water that overtook much of eastern Japan, it seems that debris from that tragedy is making its way to the shores of California. It is estimated that 20 million tons of debris was swept out at sea, and many experts predicted that it would end up in the “great Pacific garbage patch,” which is the swirling area in the Pacific that has become a holding ground for plastic and other floating debris. According to a recent New York Times article, a month after the tsunami the debris was no longer visible in NOAA’s satellite images. And, to assist in the search, officials have requested higher-resolution satellite images from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).
A the New York Times points out, despite a rise in interest and reported sightings, officials have not confirmed that any of the items found along the West Coast originated in Japan. Though based on all of the reports from various beachcombers, the debris is hitting our shores. Here’s a quote from one avid beachcomber:
“I feel like Paul Revere running through town, saying ‘The British are coming!’ and no lights are coming on,” said a retired oceanographer, Curtis Ebbesmeyer. “The tsunami debris is here, but no one is listening.”
Be sure to check out the full New York Times article here.