Senator: We need agressive plan to deal with mass of “toxic debris” headed to US from Japan — Concern over hazards to people, fish & clogged waterways

Published: November 10th, 2011 at 2:58 pm ET


U.S. must have plan to deal with huge debris field from Japan, The Olympian, November 10, 2011:

[…] “U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell [(D-WA) …] recently inserted an amendment into a Senate bill that instructs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to come up with a contingency plan for what could be the biggest onslaught of marine garbage ever to hit North America. [… It] directs NOAA to coordinate with the Environmental Protection Agency and other groups to brace for everything from clogged waterways to hazards to fish and beachgoers.” […]

“Jan Hafner, a scientific computer programmer and the principal researcher on the tsunami debris project said […] “We are trying to get across our message that it is coming and it’s about time to start planning some action.”‘ […]

“Left unchecked, the debris could threaten multimillion-dollar fishing, shipping and recreational industries 5,000 miles from Japan.”

“There’s too much at stake to ignore the threats of the Japan tsunami debris. The feds must adopt a plan then devote the necessary resources to ease the economic and environmental impacts of the 20 million tons of trash headed our way.”

Cantwell told her Senate colleagues:

  • “It will take the U.S. many years to continue to see the impacts of this.”
  • “Whole communities were swept out to sea in an unwieldy mass of toxic debris.”
  • “We can’t wait until all of this tsunami trash washes ashore. We need to have an aggressive plan on how we’re going to deal with it.”

See also: [intlink id=”oceanographer-largest-pieces-of-radioactive-tsunami-debris-could-arrive-on-west-coast-of-us-and-canada-within-days-simulation-shows-it-arriving-now” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: November 10th, 2011 at 2:58 pm ET


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61 comments to Senator: We need agressive plan to deal with mass of “toxic debris” headed to US from Japan — Concern over hazards to people, fish & clogged waterways

  • Grampybone Grampybone

    Who wants a high paying job cleaning up radioactive tsunami debris? Any takers for a shortened life of toil and sickness? The government needs to also realize there is good chance the radiation carried to the US will pose immediate health risks. If they deny that there is any radiation in the debris it will be on the workers shoulders to find out how to protect themselves. The clean up for this will not be quick and easy. We will be removing waste from the shoreline for at least 10 years.

    • many moons

      We can get the folks from the gulf coast oil spill to clean it up! Oh wait, I heard those folks are having health issues. What about the Russians who cleaned up Chernobyl, “the liquidators” oh I heard there aren’t any left. The fukushima 50?

      Perhaps the only reasonable solution for the clean up would be the folks responsible for the radiation, TEPCO executives, that’s who will clean up the California shore line. They will be provided with paper protective wear and they can share their gloves and leaky boots so there will be enough to go around. If anyone should have to do it, got be the people who put the plant there with all the risks pushed aside> This needs to come back to them.

  • Just to touch bases on the contamination argument. Radioactive seaweed was sampled in late March (in none other than Olympia WA’s Bay front). Google radioactive seaweed detected. To find the source.

    So the truth is the majority of the contamination is likely to be pooled with the debris Directly attributed from fukushima prefecture. Attaching and using the debris as a hypothetical life raft.

    Meanwhile the beginning of the contamination / flow, reached our shores a long time ago. Just pray whole nuclear fuel rod fragments hadn’t attached to large buoyant reactor fragments.

    As it would be quite tragic if your child found such a gem on the united states and canadian west coastal beaches. Hey mom whats this. Son put that down its plutonium.

    I wouldn’t suggest attempting to collect the japanese tsunami debris, and would even go as far as advising that citizens discontinue planned trips in respect to United States, and Canadian coastal locations at this point.

    Aside from the fact that the debris has been submerged in a beyond-our-life-lasting oceanic radiation field. ‘The debris itsself is bile’;
    Were talking several whole cities worth of debris. This includes: gas stations, industrial districts, Radiological labs, poison control centers, battery suppliers. All washed away and stewing in an oceanic dance over the 5000km pacific drift. Not to mention human corpses, whole sewer facilities, as well as animal remains of oceanic and land based origin.

    A very real thing to consider is that the debris is not only radioactive but is biologically dangerous as well. I strongly advise enenews users to take the amount of precaution necessary to protect yourselves from both biological and radioactive threats; When performing coastal excursions in the future.

    Friendly advice.

  • Mack Mack

    Kudos to Senator Cantwell for her foresight and intelligence on this issue.

    • beamofthewave

      I bet someone tells her to shut up.

      • StPaulScout StPaulScout

        If it costs money the Republicans will say it doesn’t need to be done. Don’t raise taxes on the wealthiest for this, they can pay to have THEIR beaches cleaned by illegals……

  • Tanuki San

    This is one thing that I think US authorities are overreacting about. Unless the debris came from the immediate vicinity of Fukushima Daiichi, it’s not going to be THAT dangerous, especially after crossing the Pacific ocean. Considering everything else they’re ignoring, this should be the least of their concerns.

    • Bobby1

      Much of the debris was in the direct path of the plume that followed the explosion in unit 3. Remember the USS Reagan had to have a thorough decontamination effort after the plume hit it.

    • Anthony Anthony

      Did you miss all the radiation dumped into the ocean?!! Yeah, its maybe a petty point in the scheme of things, but in a climate of people telling us nothing or not to worry, most of us see this as real progress!

      • What do we do with all the bad Rad Sea Water ??

        : |

      • Tanuki San

        It is progress, but if it’s found that there’s not a significant amount of radiation on the debris, people will dismiss it and say there’s not a problem. Then it will be used a way to “prove wrong” people who are concerned about radiation. I think there are much bigger things lawmakers should be concerned about, and picking one small issue like this is just petty and counterproductive.

    • Anthony Anthony

      Its all one problem anyways.

    • lam335 lam335

      re: “Considering everything else they’re ignoring, this should be the least of their concerns.”

      I disagree. This Senator is the first I’ve seen to actually address the fallout reaching the U.S. (in any form whatsoever). She deserves credit for starting a conversion about it on Capitol Hill. Now that the subject has been broached, hopefully other senators will also find the courage to start openly talking about the serious threat to our public health that all of this fallout poses.

      I for one am pleased that a senator is finally saying that the issue of Fukushima fallout must be taken seriously by our government. She has my respect and appreciation.

      • I disagree. No one actually knows the oceanic radiation dose rate. I would not discount the possibility of it being highly radioactive.

        • voltscommissar

          Hi TG you may be right. Perhaps the debris field was contaminated with fallout from the radiation plume(s) and fallouts. Perhaps the hot particles get embedded on the hard surfaces in such a “binding” way that they don’t get washed off. I guess it’s possible.

          But if there is significant contamination found, I reckon it will more likely be through bioconcentration in the attached algal growth, the attached molluscs, the attached seaweeds. They have had plenty of time to grow in the 220+ days of bright Pacific sunlight, with the rotting floating debris acting as a free food source. Large debris fields will also act like a floating reef for small fish, which will feed off any bioaccumulated caesium, strontium etc. in the algae and seaweeds.

          Somebody in Japan and North America should start measuring the radioactivity of seagull poop IMO. Based on the known bioaccumulation pathways it is likely to be “S**t Hot!”. Also why aren’t doctors in Fukushima testing human sputum and nasal secretions for radioactivity. Since the nose and lungs are particle filters, there should be useful data on lung, nose and throat damage by measuring sputum and “snot” for radioactivity. Ugh!! It’s the same concentration mechanism as automotive air filters…

          As for floating reactor vessels and fuel rods on beaches, “no comment”.

          • Auntie Nuke

            Why aren’t the Japanese testing radiation in bodily secretions? Why is the US not testing ANYTHING for radiation? Because they don’t want to know. Alas, I’ve come to the realization that government exists to manage we-the-people, keep us calm and orderly, and nothing like a little messy radioactive truth to contravene their plans and intentions.

            Ah, we do so live in “interesting times.”

            • Anthony Anthony

              Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.

              Out of sight out of mind.

              If it aint on paper, it didn’t happen.

              Take your pick!

          • westcoastgirl westcoastgirl

            Hey, that’s a good idea, voltcommissar…I’ve been wanting to see if there’s any way to get a fairly accurate idea of what my internal radiation is. Sounds gross, but I think I’ll try it.

        • westcoastgirl westcoastgirl

          And toxic in many other ways, as you pointed out, TG.

        • WindorSolarPlease

          I agree, I’m not discounting this will be radioactive, I don’t see how this wouldn’t be. I wish this was just a bad nightmare.

          I don’t know how they will deal with this. I doubt they can scoop it up before it gets here, and what will they do with the toxic trash?

      • Anthony Anthony

        Exactly my sentiment.

      • Wonder if ‘campaign donor Shipping Companies’ prodded him in dealing with the navigation and damage should ships hit this debris, Floating Dead Whales are bad enough of late !

        Cargo Ship Arrives At Port Of Oakland With Dead Whale On Bow VIDEOS
        By xdrfox on Wednesday, November 09, 2011

    • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

      I was counting on the algae and seaweed to keep alive. Also the spirulina from Hawaii and California. Also all the vegetables and fruit from California and Oregon and Washington. I almost died of cancer 22 years ago. I guess, Tanuki San, with your attitude you will personally be in for a big shock which you and the ones you love are faced with the ill health that all of us will have to face. The authorities are keeping quiet when they should be warning us of the radioactive readings being read all over the US. The radioactive readings do not lie.

    • WindorSolarPlease

      I think every bit of this whole disaster is dangerous, there has been to much of under reacting, under reporting, and not enough testing results given to the people.

  • Anthony Anthony

    Senator of which state?

    Its refreshing to talk like adults with a govt official these days.

  • markww markww

    this problem has been SOLVED. I have talked to US SENATOR MARIA CANTWELLS office and other US Senators as to the disposal of the debris that will hit the Western Shore. Hopefully they will Contact Engineers as to the Implementation of my plan. Mark

  • aigeezer aigeezer

    Hi all. I’ve been lurking here “since it started” but have always abstained from commenting. Shoganai.

    For some reason, this story got to me. The trigger event happened EIGHT MONTHS AGO and now, only now with a debris field on her constituents’ doorstep, a lone senator urges some bureaucrats to “come up with a plan”.

    Hats off to all of you who have been so active since the early days. In the beginning I was naive enough to go to the IAEA site for “news” only to find it dominated by shills and trolls (Go Aggies). I watched as you drove them away from Enenews (remember nuclearpoweryesplease and his ilk?). Whoopie, Taco, OcifferDave… and many others… I read your posts with great interest. Don’t underestimate your effectiveness, and thank you all, especially admin. This site will change the world or at least be its conscience.

  • arclight arclight

    “Shoganai is a Japanese word that literally means “there is no way of doing, it can’t be helped – nothing can be done”. It is interesting word, because it shows the culture of restraint in Japan – people should not complain. Indeed, complaining in Japan has been always kind of a taboo. Complaining is a sign of weakness. Relative word to shoganai is gaman, which means something like “Be patient”.

    Shoganai is something like c’est la vie. However, shoganai demonstrates the inability of the person to change the outside circumstances. Summer is hot and humid. Shoganai. Government workers are not friendly. Shoganai.”

    • Anthony Anthony

      Funny how we’re all different. Complaining a weakness?

      To me being complacent during a health crisis is the real weakness.

  • WindorSolarPlease

    There isn’t enough carpet to hide this mess. More people will wake up. However, unfortunately it won’t change the situation.

  • jackassrig

    When they wake up, it’s going to look like the mob in “Young Frankenstein.” A witch hunt.

    • WindorSolarPlease

      Hi jackassrig,

      People are mad enough now, this could very well be the icing on the cake, to push people over the edge.

      We still have this radiation, nothing will change this.

  • “Cantwell received the highest rating possible from the League of Conservation Voters for her environmental voting record.” – wiki

    She’s from a state that has some of the worst, if not the worst, nuclear contamination on the planet, (Handford), and now the state of Washington’s coastline will soon be the front line of radioactive contamination both in the air and the ocean. Thanks to the Fukushima follies.

    I will cast my Presidential vote to the first candidate to “speak out” about the aberration of Fukushima FALLOUT.

    • WindorSolarPlease

      Hi ChasAha

      Wonder if the Presidential Corporate Funding, Energy Corporations will allow such talks?

    • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

      I’m going to vote for the candidate who is against nuclear power. Senator Clinton in the last election campaigned against nuclear power. And she won the primaries, and lost with the Democratic leadership (oxymoron) and the corrupt caucuses. The people voted against nuclear power in the primaries in 2008, but the nuclear industry wanted their pro nuclear candidate in the White House and subverted our democracy to achieve this. Also they did not want the wealthy and the corporations to pay their share of the taxes.

  • arclight arclight

    “….COUTTS: Are you expecting that these levels won’t have any adverse affect on the sea life, or the fish life, or the coral reefs in the Pacific?

    DUARTE: Yes, I don’t think that the levels we are detecting will be detrimental to marine life, but there is a concern that the higher levels of the food web will accumulate. some of this radioactivity, particularly those species and populations even in the Asian coast of the Pacific caesium levels will be high, but elsewhere the levels will be detectable, but I don’t think they will pose any threat to marine life or even less humans.

    COUTTS: Well, you’re interrupting a very large or massive expedition the Malaspina, and it’s very important, but one are the most important parts of your research in this expedition?

    DUARTE: Well, our research focuses on the impacts of global change, on the ocean eco-system and that includes climate change, ocean acidification, increased input of nitrogen and fossils to the ocean, but also increased levels of pollutants in the oceans. Whereas we have set out to examine the inputs of persistent organic pollutants to the ocean, then radioactive waste is also an important source of pollution, but one that we will certainly not prepared to address when we sail from Spain on December 15th, 2010.”

    I think that last bit should read have set sail unprepared?
    Listen to the radio interview here!!

    interesting that we still dont have any of the measurements taken of any of the sea contamination?? wonder whats that is about???

  • arclight arclight

    Partial recovery for Japanese seafood exports

    “By Chris Loew, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Osaka, Japan

    10 September, 2011 – Exports of some Japanese seafood items have recovered after the 11 March earthquake and tsunami, while others still languish.

    The Ministry of Finance has released July customs data showing albacore tuna export volume, at 5,362 metric tons, was 2.5 times that of the same month last year, and sardine shipments, at 2,508 metric tons, had increased 90-fold. Both were mainly bound for Thailand. Mackerel was up 9 percent.

    The large increase in sardines was due to strong harvests in Japanese waters. For the six-month period of January through July the hike was less dramatic, at 15 times the 2010 level……….”

    And this

    “Consumer demand for sushi and sashimi items has not fully recovered in China and Korea, where the governments are also taking a strict approach to testing. But a salesman for Ehime-based yellowtail exporter Rumi Japan said U.S. demand is gradually returning to previous levels.”

    japan export 2011

    “September JAPAN CRAB KING FROZEN 170,184 Kilos 3,301,700 Dollars
    September JAPAN CRAB SNOW FROZEN 36,565 Kilos 322,440 Dollars
    September JAPAN CRABMEAT NSPF IN ATC 18,000 Kilos 131,040 Dollars
    Subtotal: JAPAN 224,749 Kilos 3,755,180 Dollars”

    • arclight arclight

      Agriculture, Energy, and Minerals
      “Less than 15% of Japan’s land is arable. The agricultural economy is highly subsidized and protected. With per hectare crop yields among the highest in the world, Japan maintains an overall agricultural self-sufficiency rate of about 40% on fewer than 4.6 million cultivated hectares (14 million acres). Japan normally produces a slight surplus of rice but imports large quantities of wheat, corn, sorghum, and soybeans, primarily from the United States. Japan is the fourth-largest market for U.S. agricultural exports.

      Given its heavy dependence on imported energy, Japan has aimed to diversify its sources and maintain high levels of energy efficiency. Since the oil shocks of the 1970s, Japan has reduced dependence on petroleum as a source of energy, from more than 75% in 1973 to less than 50% in 2009. Other important energy sources are coal, liquefied natural gas, nuclear power, and hydropower. Today Japan enjoys one of the most energy-efficient developed economies in the world.

      Deposits of gold, magnesium, and silver meet current industrial demands, but Japan is dependent on foreign sources for many of the minerals essential to modern industry. Iron ore, coke, copper, and bauxite must be imported, as must many forest products.”

      And this incredibly interesting paragraph too
      “Japan’s industrialized, free-market economy is the third-largest in the world. Its economy is highly efficient and competitive in areas linked to international trade, but productivity is far lower in protected areas such as agriculture, distribution, and services. Japan’s reservoir of industrial leadership and technicians, well-educated and industrious work force, high savings and investment rates, and intensive promotion of industrial development and foreign trade produced a mature industrial economy. Japan has few natural resources, and trade helps it earn the foreign exchange needed to purchase raw materials for its economy.”


  • arclight arclight

    try that again 🙂

    “It’s really important that people know [Japan] is safe again and radiation levels are down,” he says. Ulrich Fiedler, a gallery owner from Berlin who visited in November, said he was touring areas far from the nuclear disaster and was only in Japan for a week, so he wasn’t overly concerned, either. “I was a little worried about the seawater contamination because we’ve eaten a lot of fish,” he said, adding, “If I had to live here, I’d be worried.”,8599,2099119,00.html


    gnight all!!

  • many moons

    I find it interesting that this kind (something that can be seen) of toxic pollution gets addressed, while other pollution which is invisible (but could be meassured easily with the equiptment)goes flying by without much mention. Because radiation has no color, no smell, no way to detect it without an instrument, it’s easy to say it doesn’t exist. But when we have certain clues, yellow powder, dead trees, metalic taste, still the desire to believe radiation isn’t a part of this falls inline with the lies(it’s just pollen, trees die, what metalic taste you’re crazy) and nothing changes. I hope these big toxic pieces of unavoidable pollution will speak to the less obvious and potentially more harmful.

  • skizexq skizexq

    Thanks for something, Maria

  • westcoastguy westcoastguy

    what plan? why not just hire a bunch of homeless at 1$ per hour to clean up all the debris? there problem solved


    • arclight arclight

      “Homelessness is a worldwide phenomenon. It has been around for centuries and will, unfortunately, be around for centuries to come. Homelessness affects various types of individuals, some are more vulnerable than others. However, whoever may be affected, the eventuality of homelessness is a daunting thought. Why speak of homelessness in Tokyo today? Japan’s homeless were on eof its invisible secrets. They are no longer easy to banish from sight or mind, and the recent murders of two homeless men, one in Osaka and the other in Tokyo, have done little to raise public awareness of plight. The homeless situation is virtually unknown. Even the government does not grasp its magnitude. This book shows a realistic portrait of Japan including a glimpse of what lies in the shadows of success.

      • beamofthewave

        Many cities are making it illegal to be homeless in the US or to feed homeless people. Pretty sad world we live in.

        • WindorSolarPlease

          The homeless people are growing in numbers around the world, who doesn’t even have a tent over their heads, who have no food, who can’t even take a shower or have cloths to look presentable to get a job, where they have no place that an employer can contact them to let them know they have a job, who have no chance of any type of health care that we all will be needing.
          Easy to become homeless, a lot harder to get out of.

          This is a sad world when farmers who grow organic food is made to toss their food, people starving, and we are forced to eat pesticides and injected food.

          Sad world when energy corporations can easily pollute this world and the public with their toxic chemicals and radiation.

          Sad world when Governments want to fight each other, and the people would rather live in peace with each other.

          You are so right we live in a pretty sad world.

          • WindorSolarPlease

            BTW…Sad world when the education system is failing, our future adults.

            Sad world when the highly wealthy becomes greedy putting their own Country at an economical risk. We need the wealthy to start business’s right in their own Country, to put people back to work.

            Sad world that many do not get the needed healthcare, that will be needed from this radiation and toxins they are spreading around the world.