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Seaside Saturdays: A Tsunami of Questions

DC EcoWomen is going blue once a week to bring you the all-new Seaside Saturday blog series, where you can tune in to read about issues in marine science ranging from algae, corals, and fish to public health concerns and conservation challenges.  This week, our first post will focus on one of the ocean’s trickiest and hidden problems: marine debris.

Marine Debris Programis working hard to collaborate with ocean modelers to determine the facts of the situation and to appease public concerns.  This situation highlights the challenges of making high-profile predictions when so much remains unknown.

tsunami struck the coast, the wave of physical debris was visible from outer space.  Now, months later, the evidence of destroyed buildings, cars, schools, and farms has been dispersed by ocean currents or has sunk to the sea floor.  Current models predict that debris might begin washing ashore in Hawaii this winter and then hit the west coast of the U.S. in 2013.  Because the Pacific Ocean is a gyre (made famous by the ocean garbage patch), the debris would circle back to the Hawaiian Islands by 2015.  One of the biggest concerns is that larger items might cause damage to sensitive coral atolls or disrupt regional fishing activities.  Less known impacts include concerns over toxic chemicals accumulating in the food web, navigation hazards, or interference with coastal recreation.

Marine Debris Program’s website to track the tsunami debris and for more information, podcasts, videos, and FAQs.  Make sure you’re a source of truthful facts when these issues come up at happy hour, or among friends, family, and colleagues!

Check back next Saturday for information about oceans and public health…

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