There were a few media outlets reporting that a giant island of debris the size of Texas was heading for the United States based on a graphic released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The supposed mass, which was debris still leftover from Japan’s 2011 tsunami, was spotted 1,700 miles off the Pacific coast between California and Hawaii. But now the NOAA said there is no evidence to support those fears.
“There is no mass ‘flotilla’ of debris headed toward U.S. coasts,” a representative from the oceanic group assured the public. They clarified that since 2011, there may have been 5 million tons of floating debris in the Pacific Ocean, but since then, around 70% of it has already sunk. Furthermore, whatever was out there, the debris may have very well spread out in such a wide area so there is no possibility of a large chunk of it still staying together. That does not mean there isn’t any more debris heading its way to the coastal areas of the U.S. A lot of them have already landed and there is still more to come.
But what concerns most scientists is not the actual trash that may land, but what has gone along with the debris. They have been detecting different kinds of Japanese organisms growing on the materials. According to John Chapman, a scientist at Oregon State University’ Marine Science Center, so far they have already discovered 165 non-native species from the debris they have collected. And he emphasized that those are the kinds of species that “we don’t particularly want.”
[ via Huffington Post ]
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