State officials who monitor marine debris on Washington's ocean beaches say they are seeing an increase in marine debris items this winter such as Styrofoam, plastic bottles and floats, and other portable objects.

While it is unknown whether the latest items arriving on state beaches are related to the March 11, 2011, tsunami that devastated Japan, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) a portion of the debris that washed into the Pacific Ocean has been arriving on U.S. and Canadian shores, including Washington.

To help beach visitors keep our shorelines clean, the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) has deployed trash bins at Ocean Shores, Surfside north of Long Beach, Grayland Beach State Park near Westport and the city of Long Beach's Bolstad Beach approach.

Ecology is working with Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission (State Parks) and volunteer groups to assess the need to supply trash bins and litter bags at other beach locations.

The recent increase in debris is coinciding with the next state coastal razor clam season, which starts Thursday Feb. 7.

"While you are out walking on the ocean beach or clam digging, please help us keep our beaches clean. We are encouraging people to pick up and dispose of small, nonhazardous items like Styrofoam and leave the beaches better than they found them," said Steve Brand, State Parks field operations manager.

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