Government of Japan gifts NOAA $5 million to address tsunami marine debris

November 30, 2012

The Government of Japan announced today a gift of $5 million to the United States, through NOAA’s Marine Debris Program, to support efforts in response to marine debris washing ashore in the U.S. from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The funds will be used to support marine debris response efforts, such as removal of debris, disposal fees, cleanup supplies, detection and monitoring. NOAA anticipates distributing funds to affected regions as the funds are received from Japan and will work to determine immediate needs and plan for future applications.

Since the disaster, NOAA has been leading efforts with federal, state and local partners to coordinate a response, collect data, assess the debris and reduce possible impacts to natural resources and coastal communities.

“We are extremely grateful to Japan for its generous support to the American people. The tragedy set in motion by the earthquake and tsunami continues to be tangible, but it brought our nations together. This gift is a powerful reminder of the goodwill, friendship and spirit of mutual support between our people,” said Jane Lubchenco, PhD., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and administrator of NOAA. “We appreciate this partnership and collaboration with Japan as we work to keep our ocean and coasts healthy.”

Debris from the disaster has drifted across the Pacific and reached shorelines in the U.S. and Canada. In July, NOAA provided $50,000 each to Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and California to support response efforts.

Items from the tsunami that have drifted to U.S. shores include sports balls, a floating dock, buoys and vessels. Mariners and the public can help report debris by emailing DisasterDebris@noaa.gov with information on significant sightings. For the latest information on tsunami debris please visit: Japan Tsunami Marine Debris.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us at www.noaa.gov and join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels.


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