Heal the Bay has prepared a sober, hype-free set of frequently asked questions regarding the likelihood of floating debris reaching our shores. One main takeaway is that most of the stuff washed into the Pacific last March 11 sank. Another is that floating debris from Asia washes up here regularly, so don't assume anything that you find is from the Japan disaster — and most beach junk originates here and gets to the ocean through storm drains, rivers and washes. "Marine debris in Southern California is an everyday problem, stemming from urban runoff and ocean sources throughout the Pacific," the FAQs say.
Beachgoers may notice a gradual increase in debris nearshore and on Southern California beaches over the next few years, but it will likely be difficult to differentiate tsunami-debris from trash that normally flows from land-based sources and washes up onto our beaches. Satellites tracking the initial floating debris field find it to have dissipated and dispersed....
It’s highly unlikely that any tsunami-related debris is radioactive, according to scientific consensus. It’s improbable that most of the debris came into contact with radioactivity associated with leaks at crippled nuclear power plants in Japan. Debris from the tsunami came from a large stretch of coastal Japan, while the leak from the damaged Fukushima reactor occurred in one location. Additionally, there was no likely source of debris exposure to radiation. When the radioactive leak developed, the bulk of the debris had already flowed offshore. Furthermore, results from monitoring conducted on debris found at sea from the Fukushima region in September showed no radioactivity.
On the radioactivity point, LA-based enviro journalist Michael Collins disagrees. He posts at EnviroReporter.com regarding airborne particles:
High radiation readings in Santa Monica and Los Angeles during a recent 42-day period from late December and to late January strongly suggest that radiation from the multiple meltdowns in Fukushima Japan is spreading over Southern California.
This radiation, detected by this reporter and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency separate from each other using difference procedures, does not appear to be natural in origin nor from radioactive fallout in rain.
Evidence points to a uranium-packed nanoscale sphere called a buckyball just detailed in a new study of Fukushima melted fuel and seawater. The fast-moving radioactive molecule could likely be what this reporter and the EPA have been detecting, having made its way across the Pacific in the 11 months since the meltdowns began.
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Japanese tsunami debris drifting across the Pacific