EDITORIAL: Annual shoreline cleanup good practice for tsunami debris

We haven’t heard much recently about Japanese tsunami debris, but time and tide is inexorably drawing it to the B.C. coastline.

We haven’t heard much recently about Japanese tsunami debris, but time and tide is inexorably drawing it to the B.C. coastline.

The Comox Valley is about as sheltered from the magnificent and wild Pacific Ocean as any coastal community on Vancouver Island. It’s hard to believe, though, that no tsunami debris will ever reach us.

The frightful tsunami March 11, 2011 washed an estimated five million tonnes of debris into the sea. About 70 per cent is believed to have sunk off the coast of Japan, leaving approximately 1.5 million tonnes floating in the Pacific.

Something of this magnitude needs broad-based reaction from coastal residents at large if it is to respond effectively.

If you see anything you think is tsunami debris, report it at DisasterDebris@noaa.gov.

A website at www.tsunamidebrisbc.ca lists what the federal and provincial governments are doing to prepare for the arrival of debris.

A committee is marshalling levels of government and interest groups in a co-ordinated response. Committee members are starting to work with local governments, First Nations and other stakeholders.

The committee is engaging the Union of B.C. Municipalities and volunteer organizations such as the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.

That’s timely, considering the annual cleanup focuses on National Cleanup Week from Sept. 15 to 23. The first event so far happens Sept. 15 at Puntledge Park.

Others are scheduled the next day at Marina Park and Goose Spit. Still more will happen the following weekend at Simms Millennium Park and the Courtenay Airpark.

Many other cleanups in the Comox Valley are not yet organized. For details of scheduled events and ones that still need to be organized, visit http://shorelinecleanup.ca/en/search/cleanups.

Sadly, even when we don’t have tsunami flotsam and jetsam to deal with, there’s far too much human-generated garbage deposited on our shoreline.

editor@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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