Debris from 2011 Japan tsunami still washing ashore in America

A year has passed since a devastating tsunami hit Japan, but the U.S. government and the states along the West Coast still don’t have a unified plan for cleaning up the debris floating to American shores, according to Yahoo! News.

According to the article, “The Japanese government estimates that 1.5 million tons of debris is floating in the ocean from the catastrophe. Some experts in the United States think the bulk of that trash will never reach shore, while others fear a massive, slowly-unfolding environmental disaster.”

Yahoo! News reported a concrete and metal dock that measured 66 feet long, 19 feet wide and seven feet tall washed ashore the coast of Oregon. A Japanese consulate official in Portland confirmed the dock originated from the northern Japanese city of Misawa, which suffered from the March 11, 2011 tsunami.

“I think this is far worse than any oil spill that we’ve ever faced on the West Coast or any other environmental disaster we’ve faced on the West Coast” in terms of the debris’ weight, type and geographic scope, Chris Pallister, president of a group dedicated to cleaning marine debris from the Alaska coastline, told Yahoo! News.