Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sea of Garbage: Japanese Tsunami Island of Garbage Reaching North American Shores

Satellite imagery shows the massive size of the garbage "continent".

A portion of the estimated 1.5 million tons of debris, swept up by the catastrophic March 11, 2011, tsunami in Japan, has already started to arrive on North American shores.

The latest computer models using satellite imagery of the debris "continent", which stretches over 4,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean between North America and Japan, estimate that the larger portions of the garbage will begin hitting beaches as early as this October. This is several months earlier than previously predicted. The debris is expected to continue washing ashore until at least the end of 2013.

Last week, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle was found after it washed ashore in British Colombia, Canada, that had once belonged to a man in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. A few weeks earlier, a Japanese teenager who lost his home in the devastating tsunami was delighted after his soccer ball washed up on a remote Alaskan beach 3,500 miles from Japan. Misaki Murakami, 16, came forward to reveal that he was the owner of the ball discovered by American radar technician David Baxter on Middleton Island.

Washington, Oregon, Alaska and British Columbia are set to receive the brunt of the tsunami flotsam, while the majority of California will be protected by currents pushing objects back out to sea. The islands of Hawaii, however, are in line to receive several rounds of the floating refuse.

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