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How Japan's Tsunami Massive Debris Plume Will Hit California and Hawaii

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If you live in Hawaii, California, British Columbia, Alaska or Baja California, here is some bad news: According to computer models made by scientists at the International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa, all the debris washed out by the Japan tsunami is coming your way.

This is how the trash will spread through the Pacific and hit the West Coast of the United States, Canada and Mexico:

Trash Spread

The model—developed by Nikolai Maximenko and Jan Hafner using data from drifting buoys that have been deployed over years through the Pacific Ocean—shows the unstoppable progress of the debris after the March 11 tsunami. The trash plume—formed by all kinds of junk, from pieces of houses and automobiles to consumer electronics—is now spreading eastward from Japan taken by the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre.


The Debris timeline

March 2012 | The debris plume approaches the north of Hawaii. According to their simulation, pieces will start to arrive to the beaches of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument.
March 2013 | Plume starts reaching the rest of the Hawaiian islands on their way to the West Coast.
March 2014 | The debris cloud will touch the West Coast, dumping trash on California, British Columbia, Alaska and Baja California's beaches.


March 2015 | By now, the plume will be swimming its way into that shameful spot called the North Pacific Garbage Patch, which more than a patch is a sea of floating trash that, according to the latest study by the US National Science Foundation, could be twice the size of Texas right now. There, according to Maximenko and Hafner, it will "wander around and break into smaller pieces."
March 2016 | Five years after the disaster, another wave of "stronger and longer-lasting" debris will reach Hawaii again.

Hopefully these findings—which were presented at the 5th International Marine Debris Conference in Hawaii—will serve the authorities to coordinate the effort to capture and eliminate the tsunami trash along with the rest of that garbage sea, just like they did before with the North Atlantic Patch. []