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Local search begins for tsunami debris

June 7, 2012 |  5:46 pm

Heal the Bay staffers are expected to fan out across beaches around the Palos Verdes Peninsula and Malibu at daybreak on Friday in the first formal search for tsunami-related debris on Los Angeles County beaches.

The patrols at Malaga Cove and Carbon Beach aim to kick off a series of surveys to be conducted this summer under a partnership between Heal the Bay and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Heal the Bay is best known for its annual beach report cards and for organizing clean-up days that remove tons of trash from the Southern California coastline each year.

There are no plans to collect tsunami material, unless it is of obvious personal value to someone in Japan.

“If we find a personal item related to the tsunami, we will try and reunite it with the owners,” said Sarah Sikich, Heal the Bay’s coastal resources director. “Otherwise, our plan is to document a given item’s location, size, weight and description, then forward the data to NOAA.”

A little more than a year after an earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan, an estimated 1 million to 2 million tons of debris are believed to be drifting across the Pacific. Some of that material has washed ashore in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. However, there are still no documented reports of tsunami debris discovered on local beaches.


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-- Louis Sahagun