Thursday, September 13, 2012
U.S., Canada to Receive $6 Million from Japan for Tsunami Debris Cleanup
Debris from the March 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami litters the Beach River area of Alaska's Montague Island in late August 2012.
Japan is pledging to help the United States and Canada cleanup tons of debris that continue to float onto the coasts from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The Japan Daily Press reports Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda pledged $6 million, a million for each of the five states affected and Canada including California, Oregon, Hawaii, Alaska and Washington.
This comes after recent discussions with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
West Coast states have been struggling to pay for the debris removal with only $50,000 provided to help each state from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grants.
The tsunami washed five million tons of debris into the Pacific Ocean, with more than one million tons staying afloat on its journey across the ocean.
While the bulk of the debris has yet to arrive, beaches in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska have already begun to see large pieces of debris wash ashore.
A large dock swept ashore the Oregon coast back in June. Washington state officials weremonitoring a large floating piece of debris off its coast in July.
Other smaller debris including floats, barrels and one errant soccer ball have all been recovered on Alaska's Middleton Island from the tsunami.
By 2013, it's estimated as much as 1.5 million tons of wreckage from Japan's tsunami could reach the U.S. west coast from Alaska all the way to California. John Blackstone spoke with the president of a local conservation group who predicts the clean-up process could take up to six years.