– 33,000 tons of quake debris to reach N. America by June 2013 (Mainichi/Kyodo News, Nov 10, 2012):
TOKYO (Kyodo) — The Environment Ministry said Friday it is expecting around 33,000 tons of debris washed away by tsunamis caused by the March 2011 earthquake in northeastern Japan to reach the western coast of North America by next June, slightly revising its earlier estimate made seven months ago.
The movement of the debris is now found to be slower than initially predicted, the agency said, following its analysis of more recent data including the ocean current and wind direction through June. Its April estimate said 41,300 tons would move across the Pacific by February 2013.
Both the new and previous estimates put the amount of debris washed away from the three hardest-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima at 1.33 million tons.
The previous study predicted the amount to reach waters within 10 kilometers of North American shores, while the new projection gives an amount reaching the coastline areas to make a more accurate estimate of debris likely to be washed ashore.
Around 290 tons are expected to reach the coastline by next month, increasing to 3,200 tons by next February and 14,000 by April, according to the latest analysis.
Ministry officials said the government will not change its plan to provide $5 million to the United States and 1 million Canadian dollars to Canada to help cover cleanup costs.