South Bend, Washington – Washington State Department of Ecology today announced a new toll-free reporting and information line for citizens who spot possible tsunami debris on Washington State beaches.
Beachgoers are encouraged to call 1-855-WACOAST (1-855-922-6278) to report. In addition, beachgoers are encouraged to remove and dispose of small debris items such as polystyrene (Styrofoam), plastic bottles, or other small articles. If an item appears to have sentimental value to those who owned it, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) request people move the item to a safe place and email the information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
People who call 1-855-WACOAST (1-855-922-6278) can:
· Report oil and hazardous items to the National Response Center and Washington Department of Ecology by pressing “1”.
· Report large floating debris items that might pose a boating or navigation hazard by pressing “2”.
· Get instructions for reporting debris that is not large or hazardous.
NOAA predicts tsunami debris will show up on Washington shores intermittently during the next several years. However, it is unknown where and what types of debris might arrive. NOAA encourages beachgoers and boaters, if possible, to take photos of marine debris suspected to be from the Japanese tsunami, to note the location, and to email the information to email@example.com.
As of July 2, the federal agency had received 569 total reports of potential tsunami debris both along West Coast shorelines and from sightings at sea – including 43 from Washington during the past two weeks. Of the overall total, 10 have been confirmed as tsunami debris items including a 20-foot fiberglass boat that washed ashore at Cape Disappointment State Park near Ilwaco on Friday, June 15.
Items from Asia, including buoys or consumer plastics, regularly wash up on the Washington coast. It is difficult to tell the origin of ocean debris without unique identifying information, such as an individual or company name or boat identification number.
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Linda Kent, Ecology media relations, 360-407-6239; 360-791-9830 (cell); firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben Sherman, NOAA media relations, 301-713-3066; email@example.com
Keeley Belva, NOAA media relations, 301-713-3066; firstname.lastname@example.org