Bottles, cans and lumber from the tsunami that devastated Japan in March began washing up on British Columbia shores this week, more than a year earlier than oceanographers had initially predicted.
Winds and currents have carried the items -- emblazoned with Japanese characters -- nearly 21,000 kilometres across the Pacific Ocean. They began washing up in the Tofino area on Vancouver Island's west coast earlier this week.
Jean-Paul Froment, a longtime area resident, says he's used to seeing things wash up on the beach, but has never seen such a large quantity of debris? at once.
CBS Early News also showed pics of a family from Ocean Shores Washington who have accumulated an entire backyard full of Fuku debris, including a very large buoy:
Curtis Ebbesmeyer has been tracking this debris and predicting that it would arrive earlier than originally estimated. He has made the following points, summarized at http://www.enenews.com
People should also be aware of the possibility of radiation contamination.The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant leaked a large amount of radiation into the water. No one knows what levels of contamination there are in the currents, and the items being carried in those currents. He suggests that local police take steps to have sensitive Geiger counters available to scan items.
“All debris should be treated with a great reverence and respect.” Families in Japan are waiting to hear of any items that may have been associated with their loved ones and may travel to the U.S. to meet those who found these mementos. Rafts of debris include whole houses which may still contain many personal items and Japanese are known for storing important personal mementos in walls. Even the smallest of traceable items may be the only thing associated with one of those people who were lost.
Contact Ebbesmeyer at CurtisEbbesmeyer@comcast.net
“I have a translator to read things in Japanese”