More than 700 volunteers turned out Thursday to help pick up litter and flotsam on the Oregon and southwest Washington coasts. Volunteers were on alert for debris from last year's tsunami in Japan. There were some possible new finds on Long Beach, Washington.
The fifth of July is a traditional beach cleanup day in Manzanita and Seaside, Oregon and on Washington's Long Beach Peninsula. The coordinator of Manzanita's cleanup estimates the three dump truck loads hauled away were "99 percent fireworks" related.
Oregon State Parks managers have two new Geiger counters to scan possible tsunami debris that floats in from Japan. On the Washington coast, state health department scientists are now regularly checking marine debris and fish for possible radiation from last year's Japanese nuclear meltdown. The testing is mostly just to reassure the public, not out of grave concern that radiation will get here.
A year after the devastating earthquake in Japan, up to 100,000 tons of tsunami-generated debris is posing an urgent threat to coastal economies in the western U.S. That’s according to Senators Maria Cantwell and Mark Begich, who have written a letter to President Barack Obama, asking that emergency research funds from the National Science Foundation be mobilized to help scientists hone in on what needs to be done to prepare for the arrival of the debris.