Hello! Kirsten here, coming to you from Golden Gate National Recreation Area!
Cruise ships bob the waves of the Pacific and Atlantic to destinations such as Nassau, Honolulu, and Puerto Vallarta. The U.S. Cost guard protects Navy vessels and provides law enforcement and rescues in marine boating environments. Mailboats in the Bahamas carry inter-island letters and tourists seeking a cheap ride.
Our natural waters provide numerous travel and transportation services, but what about unintentional voyages? A couple from Alaska finds a soccerball with a name and address written on it in Japanese. This ball sloshed around in the Pacific currents for 3 years, making the trek from Japan to Alaska. The soccer ball is not the first, and certainly not the last Japanese artifact to be washed up on the Pacific coast of the U.S. Much of this debris came from the Japanese tsunami of 2011. Washed up debris from this tsunami–which was part 2 of a triple-whammy earthquake/tsunami/nuclear meltdown–is being monitord by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).
Golden Gate National Recreation Area has joined the effort to monitor Tsunami debris. Volunteers have participated in 3 trash clean-ups this year along Stinson beach with a focus on looking for Tsunami Debris.
Our most recent clean-up was this Saturday, the 18th of July. A small group of 18 volunteers showed up for the event. Our volunteers were instructed to collect any trash, but to keep a special eye out for household items with Asian characters. NOAA suggests that any potential tsunami debris be reported, but to limit that to items found in large numbers. For example, one of our younger volunteers found a candy wrapper with Japanese characters on it. This wrapper was more likely from a local super market as it was on its own and considering the large Asain community San Franciso is home to.
Aside from the tricky candy wrapper, our group did not report any potential Tsunami debris. But that doesn’t mean our project was a waste! We collected 40 gallons of trash including small pieces of glass, plastic and cigarette butts that are harmful to animals. This helps make the beach a cleaner, healthier place for visitors as well as the wildlife community that calls the beach home.
Thanks for taking a look,