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Hundreds Turn Out To Clean Up Coastal Beaches

Shelly Pollock
Northwest News Network
Beach cleanup volunteers found this refrigerator on Long Beach with Japanese labels on July 5

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.

But on Long Beach, Grass Roots Garbage Gang organizer Shelly Pollock says remnants from last year's Japanese tsunami were mixed in. "With every high tide, there's a certain amount of (Japanese) debris that is coming in."

Pollock says the most notable flotsam this day was a small refrigerator that clearly floated all the way across the Pacific. "It had an amazing amount of barnacles on it," Pollock says. "But very distinctly had Japanese characters on it."

Federal marine scientists predict tsunami debris will show up on the Northwest coast intermittently for the next several years.

Earlier this week, Washington Governor Chris Gregoire set aside $500,000 from her emergency fund to cover future response costs.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Tom Banse covers business, environment, public policy, human interest and national news across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be heard during "Morning Edition," "Weekday," and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.