March 11, 2012Ã‚ will mark the one-year anniversary of the Japan earthquake and tsunami. Together the quake and tsunami caused $210 billion in economic damage, an estimated $35 to $40 billion in insured losses, and 15,840 fatalities, according to Munich Re.
Another ongoing issue of concern beyond JapanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s shores is marine debris.
According to NOAA, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s possible that debris washed into the sea by the tsunami could arrive on shores in Alaska, Hawaii, the West Coast, and Canada over the next few years.
Over at the Marine Debris blog, a post by Nancy Wallace, Director of the NOAA Marine Debris Program, notes:
It is likely that beachgoers on the West Coast and Alaska will start noticing a gradual increase in marine debris items near-shore or on the beaches in 2013. Those on the main Hawaiian Islands might start noticing an increase closer to 2014.Ã¢â‚¬
Despite the alarming news headlines, NOAAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Wallace assures us there is no scientific estimate of how much debris the tsunami washed into the sea or how much is still floating. It is also highly unlikely any debris is radioactive, while the chance of human remains arriving with it is almost zero.
ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also a marine debris tracker app that allows you to check in when you find trash on U.S. coastlines and waterways. Significant marine debris sightings can also be reported to NOAA via email at DisasterDebris@noaa.gov
A HuffPost piece offers further analysis on the tsunami marine debris story.