Friday, May 4, 2012

Japan Tsunami Debris

Announcing the North Olympic Tsunami Debris Symposium supported by the Clallam County MRC and the Olympic Peninsula Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. Renowned oceanographer Curt Ebbesmeyer will be leading presentations, Tsunami debris identification workshops and a planning session. Website:

What to do if you see debris that could be Japan Tsunami debris? Here are NOAA's guidelines:

Be safe: If you don’t know what it is, don’t touch it. Collect as much information from a safe distance as you can – including photos -- and report the debris to If the item appears unusual or hazardous, contact your local authorities for specific guidance and instructions (see below).

Litter and other typical marine debris items
Common marine debris types will vary by location. If an object can be linked to the tsunami, please report it to Please provide as much information as possible. Where it’s safe and practical to do so, people should remove the debris and recycle any plastics or metals.
Hazardous materials
Examples: Drums, fuel tanks and containers, gas cans, gas cylinders, chemical storage totes Do not touch or attempt to move the item. Give authorities a detailed report about what you’ve observed. Call the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802 AND 1-800-OILS-911 (1-800-645-7911).
Aluminum Canisters
10-inch aluminum insecticide canisters often are found in high tide zones. Do not open the cap since these fumi- gant canisters may contain small amounts of toxic phosphine gas. Call the National Response Center at 1-800-424 -8802 AND 1-800-OILS-911 (1-800-645-7911).
Derelict boat or other large debris item
Do not attempt to move or remove the boat. Report it to the U.S. Coast Guard 24-Hour Command Center, 206-217- 6001.
Personal effects or possessions from Japan tsunami
Items that appear to be personal belongings should be treated with respect. They should be reported with as much relevant detail as possible. Generally, these objects should be left in place for later retrieval. However, if the object appears likely to be moved by tide or wave action and it is safe to do so, consider moving the object above the high- tide line. Report these to
Human remains
It is extremely unlikely any human remains from the tsunami will reach the United States. However, if you encoun- ter any remains, immediately call 9-1-1 and give local authorities a detailed report about what you observed. Do not touch or attempt to move.
Unknown Item
Don’t touch or attempt to move the item. Give local authorities a detailed report about what you observed. Call 9-1-1
For more information on Japan tsunami debris, please visit To request a shoreline monitoring guide, email