Residents gathered to hear of the effects of the 2011 Japanese Tsunami
Four years later, debris continues to wash ashore on Haida Gwaii and the BC Coast from the 2011 Japanese tsunami. This week, Prince Rupert and Terrace residents listened to two experts talk about the severe impact the tsunami is continuing to have.As waves crash against BC’s Northern Shores, more debris is being discovered says Shoreline Cleanup Manager Kate Le Souef.
“The quantity of debris that we’re finding on the coast line is probably what is the most shocking. So, for example we pulled 4 tonnes of debris off the West Coast trail just in a day of cleanup.”
However, its not just tsunami debris, but from everyday activities says Le Souef. If action is taken to reduce garbage and plastic production, it’s possible to make a difference.
“People who live by the ocean rely on the ocean for food, recreation and so understanding what risks and the level of risks that’s associated with this level of contamination is of direct interest for people in Prince Rupert,” says Oceanographer Dr. Jay Cullen.
An assortment of objects have been found on Haida Gwaii beaches over the past few years.
“Tsunami debris on BC beaches shows us that we are all connected and we don’t have to be living directly in Japan or even directly on the West Coast to understand that. The Tsunami debris is just showing us how powerfully connected we are by the ocean,” says Le Souef.
It’s the strong connection that poses some concern for oceanographers.
“Well we’ve been making some measurements of the contamination in sea water offshore and inshore and in marine organisms like sockeye salmon and steel head trout and so we’re just basically going to communicate what those levels mean and communicate what the risks are for individuals who rely on the oceans,” explains Cullen.
Both Cullen and Le Souef want people to understand, a tragedy on the opposite side of the world still effects those around the globe.