CONTRIBUTION · 29th April 2011
M S Craven
A giant mass of floating debris swept out into the ocean by the Japanese tsunami is predicted to potentially reach the West Coast in three years. British Columbia needs to prepare for the floating debris that will threaten our coastline.
More than 200,000 buildings were swept out by the enormous waves which followed the March 11th 9.0 quake.
There have been reports of human remains, cars, tractor-trailers, capsized ships and whole houses floating in open waters.
Even more terrifying are the predictions of U.S. oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer, who expects human feet still in their shoes, to wash up on the West Coast within three years.
Mr.Ebbesmeyer, a Seattle oceanographer who has spent decades tracking flotsam, told reporters: “I'm expecting parts of houses, whole boats and feet in sneakers to wash up. Several thousand bodies were washed out to sea following the disaster and while most of the limbs will come apart and break down in the water, feet encased in shoes will float.”
“I'm expecting the unexpected,” he added.
Scientists have stated that the first bits of debris from Japan are due to reach the West Coast within a year's time after being carried by currents toward the West Coast of North America. They will then turn toward Hawaii and back again toward Asia, circulating in what is known as the North Pacific Gyre.
Mr.Ebbesmeyer stated: “If you put a major city through a trash grinder and sprinkle it on the water, that's what you're dealing with. If the items aren't blown ashore by winds or get caught up in another oceanic gyre, they'll continue to drift in the North Pacific loop and complete the circle in about six years.”
According to James Hevezi, chair of the American College of Radiology Commission on Medical Physics, some of the debris to hit the West Coast may be radioactive following the devastation at Japanese nuclear power plants.
Curt Peterson, a coastal oceanographer and professor of in the geology department at Portland State University in Oregon has said that “The material that is actually blown in will be a fraction of the tsunami debris. Some will break up in transit; a lot of it will miss the US coast. Also some will split up and head up to Gulf of Alaska and (British Columbia).”
“All this debris will find a way to reach the West Coast or stop in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch: a swirling mass of concentrated marine litter in the Pacific Ocean” said Luca Centurioni, a researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.
Much of the debris is plastic, which doesn't completely break down. That raises concerns about marine pollution and the potential harm to marine life. The Author has prepared a proposal which hopefully will be well received so British Columbia can prepare to protect its greatest resource of all, the coastline and marine life.
The currents in the Pacific Ocean that will push the debris around from Japan to the West Coast and then back again
Comment by 丸山 on 30th April 2011
Mr.Craven should be applauded for his efforts to help Canada. He is risking his career in Japan to help his own country. I personally know he as edited many documents for prominent politicians and it is shameful that Canada’s government has not done anything to help his cause. Japan is dealing with three disasters, never ending tremors, a possible meltdown and the tsunami. Why can’t Canada listen to a Canadian who can help with this situation? How shameful are these Canadian politicians? Let Mr.Craven help before it is too late and nothing can be done. He is very resourceful and you would be surprised at what he will bring from Japan.
Comment by Maggie Johnson on 30th April 2011
Will there be more severed feet in shoes hitting our shoreline too? (The limbs are preserved extremely well when in rubber casings aka running shoes/sneakers).
Society is too busy to care.
Comment by A.Heidl on 29th April 2011
It is amazing how people have lost interest in an unfolding natural disaster that is occurring in another country, but find time to watch the hockey games, political debates, and the current Royal Wedding.
The reaction people tend to think is “I couldn’t even imagine” and honestly, no you couldn’t. All you can do is pray that you are never inflicted with such tragedies in life except a heart break or yearly flu.
I was in Tokyo the day the 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck. It is an event that I will never forget.
It is an event where you wish the people who you call friends attempt to take time out of their busy life to reach out for you. Unfortunately, very little of my “friends” did. Is it because I am a bad person? I confidently can say that I constantly make time to check on friends, especially when I know they need a comforting voice. But I know the real reason is that they were too busy in their life to take 5 minutes to send me an email to make sure I was alright.
When you are a foreigner in another country and are victim to a disaster you reach out to your country to obtain answers and help. Canada clearly stated that they were not considering the event an emergency situation.
Isn’t one’s country supposed to be there to help in such events? Or at least guide you in the direction of help?
In attempts to reach out to politicians for help, I was again up against a wall: election campaigns.
Even the Canadian government is too “busy” to help out their citizens in a time of need. Yet they have time to promise better health care, decrease in taxes and attacking climate change.
I am tired of people continually issuing a false sense of hope. I am a firm believer of “walking your talk”.
It would be nice for people to take some day out of their day to reflect on what is going on in the world around them and not just in front of them.
The effects from the Tsunami and Fukushima crisis are not going to disappear; eventually they will affect everyone’s life in some way. It is time for people to get out of tunnel vision mode and ask the questions “what can I do?” and “How do we protect ourselves from effects?”
Society should start voting for candidates that go out and make the changes and not the ones that continue to promise change.
Comment by M Craven on 29th April 2011
Since the March 11th disaster I have been trying to alert Canada. I live in Tokyo and when I called Environment Canada the gentleman who looks after radiation actually laughed at me at the beginning of the call. By the end of the call he said he would monitor the situation more closely but the tone in his voice leaves me skeptical. There is more then this debris which is an issue, there is also the radiation leaks into the sea have caused serious contamination of the marine environment, TEPCO's estimates show. Water that leaked into the Pacific Ocean from the No. 2 reactor's water intake contained an estimated 4,700 terabecquerels of radioactive substances, TEPCO announced last week.
On April 4-5, the company took the emergency action of discharging 10,000 tons of relatively low-level radioactive water from a fuel waste disposal facility, causing an international stir.
The estimated total amount leaked, 4,700 terabecquerels, is 30,000 times the amount of radioactive material contained in the water discharged on April 4-5.
It is also about 20,000 times the amount of radioactive substances the plant is legally permitted to release into the environment in a year. One terabecquerel equals 1 trillion becquerels.
On April 12, the government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency raised the severity level of the ongoing crisis to Level 7, citing the estimated 370,000 terabecquerels of radiation released into the air from the reactors.
TEPCO has said leakage into the sea started April 1, but records show radiation levels in seawater peaked on March 31. It is therefore highly likely that radioactive water leaked into the ocean before April 1.
Jun Misono, a senior researcher of the Marine Ecology Research Institute, said: "At the moment, [radiation] levels higher than government-set limits have been detected in small fish that eat plankton. Tests should also be conducted on various other marine species."
Hopefully I can alert BC to take action. I do have a proposal which has been sent to Nathan Cullen. We need to protect BC's resources.
Comment by Sandy on 29th April 2011
I have been saying the exact same thing for weeks with one addition, when will Health Canada begin monitoring radiation levels on Haida Gwaii instead of trying to shut down local village gov't from doing their own?
Japan disasters and Western Apathy
Comment by S.Jackson on 29th April 2011
The news will be crammed full of blow-by-blow royal wedding news today, providing all Canadians with more trivia about royalty than anyone knew existed. Meanwhile, real-life drama that ought to
keep us glued to the screen is unfolding in so many corners of the world. Which dictators have trampled
on whose democratic rights? Which peoples are living in make-shift shelters due to genocidal battles,
tribal warfare, crazed war-lords? Who has died as
a result of conflict diamond, drug smuggling, famine, disease, pandemic epidemics or drought? and then there's the latest election news plus the never-ending analysis of issues in politics that competes for the few moments people might have in their lives that they can afford to devote to media-watching. Ask anyone, we are all BUSY. Even people who are retired or not working... All of them can tell you how they managed to fill the minutes and hours of the day with activity. Meanwhile, one of the biggest events of the century is taking place in slow motion... in Japan and now on the high seas. Exactly how much debris might float up the Douglas Channel, come ashore on Haida Gwaii or decorate the landscape in tourist pics in the Inside Passage? When radioactive feet are eventually found and photographed to provide the evening news with a sound-bite or two.... Or perhaps when textbook writers sift through CPAC news and parliamentary debates... When will this nuclear disaster become BIG NEWS? A pessimist, or is it a realist, would say never. I prefer to believe there are those who ARE paying attention. Speak up, cry out, spread the news please. Grade B disaster movies tell us that the authorities won't even tell us when the planet is about to explode. Is that what's really going on now? Maybe I should find out which friends of Donald Trump are selling their WestCoast beach front property.