Oregon Tsunami Debris Line Established Gov. John Kitzhaber announced Thursday that people will be able to call 211 to report tsunami debris. Beginning Friday, the hotline will be staffed during business hours and will take recorded messages at other times. The governor said General Mike Caldwell will be responsible for coordinating the response and cleanup efforts among state agencies. Caldwell is interim director of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management. Caldwell says it's important to the promptly pick up tsunami debris large and small to keep beaches clean and prevent the introduction of invasive species. Kitzhaber says Oregon will work with other Pacific Coast states to request money from the federal government Network of Debris Waste Bins on Oregon Coast A network of 32 drop-off sites on the Oregon coast are now ready to receive beach debris washing ashore from the tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011. The drop-off sites are free and are a combination of state parks and independent recycling and transfer stations located in every county Visitors and residents can call 211 (or 1-800-SAFENET) to report tsunami debris they see on the beach. Schedules vary for the drop-off locations, and visitors are encouraged to visit http://www.oregon.gov/OPRD/PARKS/tsunami_debris.shtml for a digital map with complete detailed locations and hours, and a list of common questions and answers about tsunami debris. The drop-off sites will accept debris in official beach cleanup bags produced by SOLVE. Beach clean-up bags are available at state park campgrounds (locations listed below and online at http://oregonstateparks.org).
Background on Tsunami Debris On March 11, 2011, a devastating 9.0 earthquake and tsunami struck Japan. The disaster claimed nearly 16,000 lives, injured 6,000, and destroyed or damaged countless buildings. As a result of the disaster, NOAA expects a portion of the debris that the tsunami washed into the ocean to reach U.S. and Canadian shores over the next several years. NOAA is leading efforts with federal, state, and local partners to collect data, assess the debris, and reduce possible impacts to our natural resources and coastal communities. There is no reason to avoid beaches. Radiation experts believe it is highly unlikely any debris is radioactive, and the debris is not in a mass. Beachgoers may notice a gradual increase in debris near-shore or on the coast, adding to the marine debris that washes up every day. The public should continue to visit and enjoy our coasts—and help keep them clean The public should continue to visit and enjoy our oceans and coasts, and help keep them clean. Most marine debris is not harmful, but NOAA does encourage beachgoers to remain aware of their surroundings and handle any debris with safety in mind. If you don't know what it is, don't touch it. If it appears hazardous, please contact appropriate authorities. Authorities also encourage boaters to stay alert, especially at night, since large debris can be a hazard to navigation. Radiation experts agree that it is highly unlikely that any tsunami generated marine debris will hold harmful levels of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear emergency. Some debris in West Coast states has already been tested, and no radioactive contamination was found. At least one item known to be from the Fukushima region, a small fishing boat found in the Pacific Ocean, also tested normal.