Monday, July 9, 2012

Tsunami debris

Undoubtedly, Japanese tsunami was one of the horrifying catastrophes one could register in recent years.  According to historic records, this one was the sixth major natural disaster during all the history. As one could guess, the consequences are terrible as well, both immediate and long-termed.  Of course, to date Japanese people are at risk in context of seismological activity growth, while recent tsunami triggered fears among countries on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. At present, they deal with tsunami debris, which slowly but steadily moves to their coasts.

A year after the hazard, English experts have stated that the trash drifts with much higher speed, than estimated earlier. The main reason of this phenomenon is that initial debris, comprised of the whole houses, cars and boats, has already drowned in waters, and the rest started moving faster. The biggest items are fragments of ship hulls. These predictions draw an attention of the United States and Canada, insomuch as their western shores are likely to face tones of tsunami debris. 95% of it will remain floating in ocean spaces, but even 5% can become a real environmental problem. To date the lightest trash like buoys and oil barrels have already reached the American coast in autumn 2011. 

The important assignment for modern scientists and oenologists is to define the trajectory of tsunami debris movement. Current results state that in one year Japanese tsunami debris threatens to hit Hawaii, and in one more year it will meet American coasts. These oppressing conclusions were also confirmed by Russian sailing ship “Pallada”, which registered a huge spot of debris just on the trajectory forecasted earlier. 

On September 22nd 2011 Russian sailors noticed a fishing boat, then – a TV-set, refrigerator, shoesand other household stuff. The conclusion was obvious. This clash became a confirmation of theoretical direction of tsunami debris, introduced by scientists from International Pacific Research Center at the University of Hawaii.

The set of current movements within Pacific Ocean might also correct the movement of debris. There are also some claims that western shores of the USA might face not the whole garbage; partially it might turn to Alaska or go back to the ocean. Stream currents of the North Pacific can transfer it to the trash continent, which has been forming for many years there. In addition, scientists also have their view on scales of the garbage spot: it is likely to be of California state sizes. 

The other side of the problem is that “hosting” areas might be not prepared to garbage coming. In particular, such situation has been already recorded in Canada. As an example, the mayor of tourist resort Tofino (British Columbia) stated that Japanese trash comes to Canadian shores and local authorities has no facilities or equipment for clean-up or, at least, storage. 

Hence, the abruptness of Japanese tsunami has its consequences even nowadays, when there is no way to predict the scales or to confirm the direction of tsunami debris. Notwithstanding its already registered “stops”, scientists still work out the long-termed aftermaths of this natural catastrophe. 

By Maria Kruk, an author for