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Japanese tsunami debris washes ashore in Hawaii

Friday, November 30, 2012 - 01:23

Nov. 30 - Debris from the tsunami that ravaged Japan almost two years ago washes ashore on the beaches of Hawaii threatening to damage the state's picturesque coastline. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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The massive earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands and ravaged Japan in March 2011 also unleashed 1.5 million tons of debris into the Pacific Ocean, some of which has found its way toHawaii's Kamilo Beach - what many call the world's dirtiest beach. The beach, already a dumping ground for an estimated 20 tons of garbage sent ashore by clockwise ocean currents, finds itself in the path of tons of floating debris from the Japanese tsunami. A 10 mile (16 km) stretch of fishing nets, buoys and bottles, many with Japanese markings, have washed ashore the beach in what many fear is just the beginning of an oncoming barrage of tsunami flotsam that threatens to change the very shape of this coastline Even a refrigerator has washed ashore. The debris has already impacted the region's wildlife with necropsy results showing that seabirds are digesting plastic. "Every bird we open has plastic -- a 100 percent," says oceanographer David Hyrenbach. Even the fish have not been spared. "The species we love to eat like salmon and tuna are eating the fish we find plastic in, it's in our human food web," says NOAA's Carey Morishige. The beach is a victim of what is known as the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" - a swirling mass of trash spanning thousands of miles between Hawaii and the U.S mainland. Scientists fear that phenomenon will cause tsunami debris to become a more common sight in these waters in the coming months and years. The March 2011 tsunami, caused by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, killed nearly 16,000 people and left over 3,000 missing on Japan's main island of Honshu, and precipitated a major radiation release at theFukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

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Japanese tsunami debris washes ashore in Hawaii

Friday, November 30, 2012 - 01:23

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