Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tsunami Debris Clogging Alaskan Beaches

The debris from the earthquake and subsequent tsunami is washing up on beaches in Alaska. According to Chris Pallister of the Gulf of Alaska Keeper the amount of debris has exceeded most expectations. The debris was at first small items like bottles and Styrofoam, but now large items such as appliances and fuel tanks are washing up as well.

The money for the cleanup is running thin though. Each of the Pacific Coast states received $50,000 from the US government and Japan has given $5 million to the US for cleanup, but this is far below what is needed to thoroughly clean up the debris. Another problem is that these beaches are so remote, simply getting to them can be a difficult prospect.

For the area of Prince William Sound this is the third major environmental disaster in the last 50 years; in 1964 an earthquake and tsunami destroyed the local communities and natural areas, in 1989 the Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred, and now this.

Photo: Annie Feidt (NPR)

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