Sunday, April 10, 2011

Japan’s Tragic Tsunami Trash to Clog Hawaiian, Western U.S. Beaches, Ship Lanes

By Jane Jamison
 
Timber, homes, upended boats, cars, pieces of human beings
Americans will relive the tragedy of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami over and over again in a sad, personal, and dangerous  way in the months and years to come: a huge floating pile of tsunami “trash,” estimated to be at least 500 miles wide, is heading east across the Pacific Ocean.  It is expected to hit the beaches of Hawaii and then the western seaboard, from Washington State to San Diego.
“More than 200,000 buildings were washed out by the enormous waves that followed the 9.0 quake on March 11.
There have been reports of cars, tractor-trailers, capsized ships and even whole houses bobbing around in open water.
But even more grisly are the predictions of U.S. oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer, who is expecting human feet, still in their shoes, to wash up on the West Coast within three years.
‘I’m expecting parts of houses, whole boats and feet in sneakers to wash up,’ Mr Ebbesmeyer, a Seattle oceanographer who has spent decades tracking flotsam, told MailOnline.
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, Mr Ebbesmeyer said.
‘I’m expecting the unexpected,’ he added.”
Members of the U.S. Navy’s 7th fleet, who spotted the extraordinary floating rubbish, say they have never seen anything like it and are warning the debris now poses a threat to shipping traffic.
‘It’s very challenging to move through these to consider these boats run on propellers and that these fishing nets or other debris can be dangerous to the vessels that are actually trying to do the work,’ Ensign Vernon Dennis told ABC News.
‘So getting through some of these obstacles doesn’t make much sense if you are going to actually cause more debris by having your own vessel become stuck in one of these waterways.”
Year 3...tsunami trash expected to wash up on west coast
Hawaii News Now reports tourism from Japan, a huge contributor to the Hawaiian economy historically, has already dropped by 28% in April and those visitors are believe to have connected through Japan, not originated there. The impact of years of Japanese trash floating up on the many island beaches is going to be devastating.
Compounding Hawaii’s problem is another huge floating trash heap: The Great Pacific Trash Patch. 

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