When the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami hit the country, officials from countries on the other side of the northern Pacific were expecting a number of debris to hit their coastline. British Columbia in particular even set aside funds in anticipation of a massive clean-up project. To their officials’ delight, the debris coming from Japan was less than they actually expected although they were right on their sequence prediction.
A lot of wastes, referred to as the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch,’ reach the North American coasts mainly because of ocean currents in the northern Pacific. With regards to the tsunami debris from the 2011 earthquake, British Columbia officials said that there had been an increase in arrival but the volume is less than what they’ve initially expected. In a consulate briefing in Vancouver on Tuesday, Jim Standen from the Ministry of Environment in British Columbia said, “We’re hopeful we’re not going to see the kind of volume that the initial numbers would have predicted.”
The Ministry of Environment in British Columbia also reckoned a possible sequence of what kind of debris will be arriving. Styrofoams were expected to arrive first followed by wood materials. “If you go by that,” according to Standen, “we are consistent with the model; we’re just seeing volumes that are less, which is a positive thing.” Although it cannot be pointed out whether the debris resulted from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake or not, as a number of debris afloat from all over the Pacific, Paul Kluckner of Environment Canada assured that the government is prepared to do cleanup works and a budget has also been prepared in case needed.
As a nuclear accident followed the great earthquake, Kluckner reminded that the Fukushima meltdown occurred after the tsunami debris had been swept by ocean currents. He also noted that no invasive species that might cause risk were carried by the ocean current. The new ones found are currently being examined. When asked about human remains, the Environment Canada official reported that they haven’t found any yet.
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