What to do if you find tsunami debris

The state of Oregon, in coordination with NOAA, Sea Grant and multiple coastal nonprofits, has a new list of resources for people who find – or who are interested in helping clean up – debris that might be associated with last year’s devastating tsunami in Japan.

Coastal residents and visitors are invited to pick up official beach cleanup bags from any state parks office on the coast, and fill them with whatever non-hazardous trash and debris they find when they’re on the beach.   Dozens of debris drop-off stations have been established on the coast, at many state parks and local waste transfer stations.

  • If you spot
    • Debris with living organisms on it
    • Debris that appears hazardous (oil or chemical drums, for instance)
    • Items too large for you to move
  • report it – with date, location, and photos if you can take them – to beach.debris@state.or.us
  • Unusually large items, or those that pose a hazard to navigation, should be reported by calling 211 (or 1-800-SAFENET).
  • Items with markings that might trace them back to inviduals or groups in Japan, or that appear to have personal or monetary value, should be reported to either  211 (1-800-SAFENET) or beach.debris@state.or.us so the state can can make appropriate arrangements to return the items.
  • You can also download a printable sheet of wallet-sized cards with this contact information on it.

If you’d like to volunteer to help report, collect or monitor the beaches for debris, you can sign up online with Surfrider, which will pass the information to the appropriate groups.

Oregon Sea Grant has joined with organizations such as Surfrider, SOLVE and CoastWatch to form the Oregon Marine Debris Team to assist with debris monitoring, identification, cleanup and public information.

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