Eighteen months after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami washed away much of the Japan coastline and took the lives of thousands of Japanese citizens, the Japan Government announced it will contribute $6 million to the Canadian and United States Governments to support tsunami debris response efforts on the U.S. West Coast. Japan feels strongly about assisting the response effort, stating that the money is a way to show their appreciation and return the help they were given by Canada and the United States during the aftermath of the deadly 2011 tsunami. The tsunami debris anticipated along the U.S. West Coast underscores the fact that ocean trash is a global problem. Regardless of origin, trash travels. The ocean is the single most common connection between countries and continents, and therefore everyone has a role to play in tsunami debris response.
Ocean Conservancy welcomes Japan’s contribution of support and assistance to the tsunami debris response effort – and just as governments are working together on the issue, so have nonprofit organizations. For more than 20 years, Ocean Conservancy has worked closely with our partners, the Japanese Environmental Action Network, tackling preventable ocean trash. Now, they are on the forefront for response efforts following the tsunami. The magnitude of debris that will wash onto U.S. West coast beaches remains uncertain; therefore, the best action we can take at the moment is ensuring we are adequately prepared to handle any and all predicted debris.