Cleanup Volunteers Prepare for Tsunami Debris | NBC 7 San Diego

Cleanup Volunteers Prepare for Tsunami Debris

The Japanese government expects that roughly 1.5 million degrees of debris are floating in the ocean

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    Volunteers clean up for a past event sponsored by I Love A Clean San Diego.

    Debris from the 2011 tsunami in Japan may soon be landing in San Diego.

    Organizers from local coast group I Love A Clean San Diego were preparing for beach cleanups related to the tsunami in spring of 2013, but are now gearing up for late summer of this year. And reports of debris along northern areas of the West Coast have prompted the local beach cleanup organization to get ready just in case more items wash up in San Diego.

    No items from Japan have been confirmed in San Diego yet, said spokesperson for NOAA Keeley Belva.

    The Japanese government expects that roughly 1.5 million degrees of debris are floating in the ocean, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But it is unknown exactly when and where the debris will float to shores.

    A couple events are in the works for later this month and August, said Natalie Roberts, director of community events for ILCSD.

    “We are handling it just like any other marine debris,” she said. “We aren’t expecting anything as far as radiation.”

    Roberts said that should anyone discover miscellaneous items with potential hazardous waste, they should contact the proper authorities to collect it.

    Items that could end up on SoCal beaches include fishing nets, lumber or household items, NOAA states.

    Anyone who spots items that could be from Japan are asked to report it to the beach cleanup organizers, said Roberts. They are handling a specific database to provide to NOAA, which has a Marine Debris Program specifically for tsunami items.

    ILCSD  is also looking out for items of sentimental value from the 2011 tsunami so that it might be reunited with the owners, said Roberts.

    More than 530 items have been reported as suspect of tsunami debris, but only 10 were confirmed as of July 12.

    I Love A Clean San Diego will host its largest annual cleanup day on Sept. 15. For more information on how to participate, visit the Cleanup Day Website.

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