On March 11, 2011, a devastating 9.0 earthquake and tsunami struck Japan. The disaster claimed nearly 16,000 lives, injured 6,000, and destroyed or damaged countless buildings. Unfortunately, the effects of theses natural disasters did not stop there. The Japanese Government estimated that 5 million tons of debris were carried into the Pacific Ocean as a result of the tsunami. Although the magnitude of this pales in comparison to the amount of human loss and suffering, Japan tsunami marine debris is something we are still addressing years later.
From 2013-2016, in collaboration with the California Coastal Commission, NOAA and the help of our dedicated volunteers, the NEC quarterly monitored Samoa Beach in Humboldt County and Point St. George in Del Norte County for any possible debris that may have originated from the devastating tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011.
While scientists predicted that the bulk of the estimated one-and-a-half million tons of tsunami debris adrift at sea will continue to hit Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon, residents should be on the lookout for possible tsunami debris on California’s North Coast. Sightings should be reported to DisasterDebris@noaa.gov.