THE MARCH 11, 2011 EARTHQUAKE- TSUNAMI DISASTER IN JAPAN REMEMBERING: PART 2 Walter Hays, Global Alliance for Disaster Reduction, University of North Carolina, USA ONE YEAR LATER: MORE THAN 20 MILLION TONS OF TRASH FROM THE MARCH 11, 2011 JAPANESE TSUNAMI IS HEADED FOR THE USA Millions of tons of debris represent a HUGE MULTI-YEAR PROBLEM as well as an opportunity to learn TSUNAMI TRASH DUMP IN JAPAN: MARCH 11, 2012 US NAVY PHOTO OF TRASH FROM MARCH 11, 2011 JAPANESE TSUNAMI: MARCH 11, 2012 INITIAL REPORTS NATURE OF THE TSUNAMI TRASH • The tsunami trash contains refrigerators, boats, houses, cars, and all kinds of debris. • IT MAY also CONTAIN RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS because millions of gallons of radioactive water were poured into the ocean after the meltdown in March 2011. LOCATION OF TRASH: MARCH 11, 2012 • About 3333 km (2,000 miles) south of Japan and 4333 km (2,600 miles) southwest of Cook Inlet. SIZE OF FLOATING TRASH • About the size of the state of Alaska. ESTIMATED TIME OF ARRIVAL • The floating trash is headed towards the beaches of Hawaii first in April, 2012, and then on to Alaska • The trash is estimated to reach the Pacific Northwest states in 2014 and head back to the central Pacific MANY SCIENTISTS BELIEVE THE TRASH WILL END UP IN “THE GREAT PACIFIC GARBAGE PATCH” (1660 km) 1000 MILES NORTH OF HAWAII THE GREAT PACIFIC GARBAGE PATH • Discovered in 1997 • Contains millions of tons of the world’s trash kept in slow perpetual motion by rotating oceanic currents • Hundreds of km (miles) across • A DEAD ZONE FOR MARINE LIFE THE TSUNAMI TRASH PLACES CLEAN-UP PLANS ON HOLD • 2009’s tentative plans to clean-up and recycle the trash in the Pacific Garbage Patch are on hold now as the tsunami trash is about to be added to the mix. • Intense monitoring is planned to determine the present levels of radioactivity in the trash and how they will change over time.
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