Debris Washes Up In Northwest 4 Years After Japan Tsunami

PORTLAND, Ore. — Four years after a deadly earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, debris is still washing ashore in Oregon and southwest Washington. Scientists predict it will continue to arrive for at least the next three years.

An estimated 1 million tons of tsunami debris is still floating in the Pacific Ocean.

KGW-TV of Portland, Oregon, reports beach cleanup volunteers found baskets and lots of kitchen items this past year. They’ve hauled away truckloads of trash and artifacts.

The first pieces of debris to float across the Pacific Ocean included light items like chunks of foam that could easily be carried by the wind. Heavier items sitting lower in the water, like wood and tires, soon followed.

Since June 2012, Oregon’s Tsunami Debris Hotline has received 1,742 phone calls.

Researchers from Tattori University for Environmental Studies in Japan have been working with Oregon State University to track the movement of tsunami debris.