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Tsunami debris may have impact on American ecosystems

May 5, 2014


Japan to study life attached to tsunami debris



Japan's Environment Ministry will launch a study to find out the possible impact of living organisms attached to 2011 tsunami debris on ecosystems on North America's west coast.

Ministry officials estimate that about 400-thousand tons of the 1.5-million tons of debris adrift in the Pacific Ocean could reach the US and Canada by October.

People there have already found shellfish and algae native to Japan on debris that has already washed ashore. They are concerned about the creatures' possible impact on ecosystems.

The ministry will conduct the research over 3 years starting next month.

Officials say they will work with experts from both Japan and North America to see whether the debris carries living organisms from Japan.

They will also look into whether the organisms are spreading in the new environment.

May 5, 2014 - Updated 05:52 UTC


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