As we are all aware of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan and the radiation problems that arose as a result of these natural distasters, it seems that we have come across another issue. According to a computer simulation created by scientists at the International Pacific Research Center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the debris from the tsunami is in fact heading towards Hawaii.
Now, what does this mean for us in Micronesia? We are still unclear about the damages or the amount of debris that we will be getting. However, the simulated model indicates that the most affected area would be Guam, but this could change throughout time. At the very moment, we know that some of the islands will be affected by this drifting debris coming from Japan. Here is the timeline of the expected debris:
The Debris timeline
March 2012 | The debris plume approaches the north of Hawaii. According to their simulation, pieces will start to arrive to the beaches of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument.
March 2013 | Plume starts reaching the rest of the Hawaiian islands on their way to the West Coast.
March 2014 | The debris cloud will touch the West Coast, dumping trash on California, British Columbia, Alaska and Baja California's beaches.
March 2015 | By now, the plume will be swimming its way into that shameful spot called the North Pacific Garbage Patch, which more than a patch is a sea of floating trash that, according to the latest study by the US National Science Foundation, could be twice the size of Texas right now. There, according to Maximenko and Hafner, it will "wander around and break into smaller pieces."
March 2016 | Five years after the disaster, another wave of "stronger and longer-lasting" debris will reach Hawaii again.
Let us hope that actions will be taken before the debris goes any further out into the Pacific Ocean.