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Tsunami debris mars Alaska's coastline

Feb. 18, 2013 at 1:53 PM

JUNEAU, Alaska, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Debris that floated across the Pacific Ocean after Japan's 2011 tsunami has piled up on Alaska's shores, causing a huge clean-up problem, official say.

"The amount of debris washing ashore has vastly exceeded most people's expectation...," said Chris Pallister, vice president of the non-profit organization Gulf of Alaska Keeper.

"As soon as the tsunami hit and we saw the videos, we knew the northern Gulf of Alaska shoreline was going to get inundated with tsunami debris. We said so at an international marine debris conference in March 2011. Our assertion was largely dismissed."

The garbage that has made its way across the ocean isn't just lightweight material such as water bottles and Styrofoam, but also refrigerators, fuel tanks and other big items, Accuweather.com said. Much of it is in hard-to-reach areas.

The problem is two-fold: paying picking up the debris and finding room to dispose of it, Pallister said.

"We are all scrambling to come up with a solution for this," he said.

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