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Kauai residents report spike in tsunami debris on beaches

February 24, 2013
The Associated Press

LIHUE (AP) - A new wave of tsunami debris is washing up on Kauai's beaches, raising concerns about its impact on the island's reefs and marine life.

The debris, which includes some large pieces from refrigerators and a floating dock, is being monitored by the Surfrider Foundation of Kauai. Carl Berg, the foundation's chairman, told The Garden Island that Surfrider began finding very large, black buoys from Japanese oyster culture rafts last summer. He said more large pieces are being found now, including pieces from three different refrigerators and a floating dock that have washed up on north- and east-facing shores.

"Since (last) February, it's really piling up," Berg said. "It's sort of like we've finally gotten the wave."

He said large buoys, pieces of high-density foam, a clump of nets with 13 large floats attached, 23 large fishing floats and pieces of three different refrigerators have been found, as well as piece of floating dock.

"You can just imagine a refrigerator pounding against the reef at Larsen's (Beach)," he said.

Another concern is that some of the items have had plant and animal life attached to them. Berg said that is why it is important to get the debris off the beach and prevent them from being washed back out to sea.

"There (are) plants and animals coming in that we don't want to get established here," he said.

Berg said that Surfrider has been testing the debris with a Geiger counter, which measures nuclear radiation, and all tests have shown very low radiation levels.

"You get more radiation lying on the beach from the sun and sand than from picking up a piece of debris," he said.

However, Berg said, even if radiation isn't a problem, the items still could contain chemicals or other hazardous material. He advised caution when picking up any trash on the beach.

 
 

 

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