Alaska faces mas­sive Ja­pan tsunami cleanup

Cape Breton Post - - WORLD - JUNEAU, ALASKA

A mas­sive cleanup ef­fort is get­ting un­der­way in Alaska, with tons of marine de­bris — some likely sent to sea by the 2011 tsunami in Ja­pan — set to be air­lifted from rocky beaches and taken by barge for re­cy­cling and dis­posal in the Pa­cific North­west.

Hun­dreds of heavy-duty bags of de­bris, col­lected in 2013 and 2014 and stock­piled at a stor­age site in Ko­diak, also will be shipped out. The barge is sched­uled to ar­rive in Ko­diak by Thurs­day, be­fore set­ting off on a roughly one-month ven­ture.

The scope of the pro­ject, a year in the mak­ing, is vir­tu­ally un­heard of in Alaska. It was spurred, in part, by the mass of ma­te­rial that’s washed ashore — things like buoys, fish­ing lines, plas­tics and fuel drums — and the high cost of shut­tling small boat­loads of de­bris from re­mote sites to port, said Chris Pal­lis­ter, pres­i­dent of the cleanup or­ga­ni­za­tion Gulf of Alaska Keeper, which is co-or­di­nat­ing the ef­fort.

The An­chor­age land­fill also be­gan re­quir­ing that fish­ing nets and lines — com­mon de­bris items — to be chopped up, a task called im­pos­si­ble by state tsunami marine de­bris co-or­di­na­tor Janna Stewart.

Pal­lis­ter es­ti­mates the cost of the barge pro­ject at up to $1.3 mil­lion, with the state con­tribut­ing $900,000 from its share of the $5 mil­lion that Ja­pan pro­vided for parts of the U.S. af­fected by tsunami de­bris. Crews in Bri­tish Columbia will be able to add de­bris to the barge as it passes through, chip­ping in if they do. Pal­lis­ter’s group has com­mit­ted $100,000. De­lays due to weather could drive up costs, which Pal­lis­ter said is a con­cern.

The cost to op­er­ate the barge is $17,000 a day, Stewart said..

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.