Tsunami Debris Hits U.S. West Coast

Vast expanses of floating debris have slowly been making their way across the Pacific since the powerful tsunami swept inland across swathes of eastern Japan in March.

More than nine months after the disaster, oceonographers have located what is believed to be the first debris washed up onto the shores of the West Coast of the US.

The discovery consisted of a black buoy, found by a beach cleaning crew. It is believed that the floats were the first to hit the West Coast shoreline due to their lack of weight, having been pushed ahead of the main piles of flotsam after catching the wind.

The buoy was displayed in a local college, with experts in the region urging the discovery of debris to be treated respectfully, with any identifiable pieces being returned to Japan.

“All debris should be treated with a great reverence and respect,” Curtis Ebbesmeyer, an oceanographer.

Floating rubbish islands stretching dozens of miles in length have been spotted slowly edging away from Japan and towards the West Coast since the immediate aftermath of the March 11 disaster.

From entire segments of wooden homes, furniture and appliances to cars and boats, the rubbish islands are creating growing concern due to environmental pollution as well as shipping hazards.

The possibility of human bodies being included in the debris is also high, bearing in mind the thousands of victims of the disaster who are still missing, believed to have been swept out to sea.

The main body of floating tsunami debris is expected to hit US shores in around a year, stretching the length of the coastline from California to Alaska, according to experts.

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