1.5 million tons of debris expected from tsunami

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SEATTLE —

One-and-a-half million tons of debris from the tsunami in Japan is expected to hit Northwest shores in coming years, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says.

 

It's not known how much it will cost to pay for the cleanup, said KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Bob Robuck.

 

The community of Long Beach, Wash., isn't waiting for an answer. The city set up dump sites along its beaches for people to deposit debris.

 

Over the weekend, Oregon enacted a plan, prompted by a huge dock that washed ashore there several weeks ago. The state now has dump stations along beaches for the public to drop off debris and officials have set up a hotline for people to report debris they spot.

 

Washington Conservation Corps crews dispatched to clean up marine debris on southwest Washington coastal beaches have collected enough garbage to fill the beds of 70 pickup trucks.

 

The state Ecology Department sent out three six-member crews this week due to the increasing amount of debris showing up on the coast. The crews covered 57 miles of beaches from Cape Disappointment north to Moclips. Ecology says the haul was mostly plastic foam products but the workers also found refrigerators, large crates and containers, buoys, ropes and household garbage.

 

The department said it's difficult to say how much of the debris is related to the 2011 Japanese tsunami.

 

Crew supervisor Shawn Zaniewski says crews did find some large items with Japanese symbols, as well as items with Chinese and other Asian writing.