Researchers dismiss giant rubbish ‘island’ reports

A massive island of debris from the Japan tsunami of 2011, which destroyed the Fukushima nuclear power plan, is heading to California. Picture: AP

A massive island of debris from the Japan tsunami of 2011, which destroyed the Fukushima nuclear power plan, is heading to California. Picture: AP

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RESEARCHERS have dismissed reports that a giant island of rubbish is headed to the Californian coastline.

Reports earlier this morning indicated that a mass of debris three times the size of Britain was bound for the US western seaboard.

Challenging reports that a mass of rubbish made up of buildings, boats, and cars was floating across the Pacific Ocean, the US’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said: “At this point, nearly three years after the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, whatever debris remains floating is very spread out. It is spread out so much that you could fly a plane over the Pacific Ocean and not see any debris since it is spread over a huge area, and most of the debris is small, hard-to-see objects.”

The debris originates from the tsunami that devastated Japan in March 2011. Around 1,600 items, many of which have washed up in various parts of west coast states such as Washington and Oregon, have been traced back to the extreme weather phenomenon.

The NOAA added: “While there likely is some debris still floating at sea, the North Pacific is an enormous area, and it’s hard to tell exactly where the debris is or how much is left. A significant amount of debris has already arrived on US and Canadian shores, and it will likely continue arriving in the same scattered way over the next several years.

“As we get further into the fall and winter storm season, NOAA and partners are expecting to see more debris coming ashore in North America, including tsunami debris mixed in with the ‘normal’ marine debris that we see every year.”

The error was believed to have been gleaned from a diagram that showed a more intense concentration of debris in the Pacific Ocean.

The tsunami in Japan has claimed the lives of at least 15,000 when it struck the east coast of Japan over two years ago, destroying the Fukushima nuclear power plant in the process.

None of the pieces of debris recovered have tested positive for traces of radiation.

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