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U.S., Canada west coast leaders to jointly manage Japanese tsunami debris

(Xinhua)

13:53, March 15, 2012

VANCOUVER, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Canadian and U.S. west coast leaders will jointly manage marine debris from the earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan last March, Canada's provincial government of British Columbia (B.C.) said Tuesday.

At the annual Leaders Forum of the Pacific Coast Collaborative in Vancouver, the B.C. premier and the governors of the U.S. states of Oregon, Washington and California agreed to develop a joint communication strategy, in cooperation with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to ensure information is conveyed clearly and accurately.

They will work together by sharing safety protocols and training volunteers who will participate in beach clean-ups. Moreover, together with federal agencies and the Japanese government, they will establish protocols for the identification and management of any particularly sensitive debris that washes ashore.

They will also seek to improve efficiency, create uniform messages about Japanese tsunami debris and reduce red tape, the B.C. government said.

The estimated total amount of debris from the March 11, 2011 Japanese tsunami on land is 25 million tons. The tsunami debris floating in the Pacific Ocean is a fraction of the total amount, but there is currently no estimate of how much it is.

Computer models run independently by NOAA and University of Hawaii researchers predict some debris could gradually reach the west coasts of Canada and the United States, including Alaska, through 2013 and circle back to the main Hawaiian Islands in 2014.

In February 2010, the governors of California, Oregon and Washington and the B.C. premier signed a Pacific Coast Collaborative Action Plan on Ocean Conservation and Coastal Climate Adaptation.

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