By Naomi Klouda
A few beachcombers are reporting they believe they are finding objects along southern Kenai Peninsula beaches that came from a Japanese debris field afloat in the Pacific Ocean.
So far, the reports are unconfirmed in Kachemak Bay.
Mundane bottles, construction supplies and a lonely shoe have been among the items found along the West Coast, from Oregon beaches to British Columbia and Alaska. In Kodiak, a beachcomber found buoys that were confirmed as wreckage from the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that wracked the Japanese coast on March 11.
But if intriguing items are found, people are urged to not pick any of it up. Make a record and contact either Cook Inletkeeper or the Homer Fire Department.
Inletkeeper’s Bob Shavelson was at work Monday locating a Geiger counter online to purchase for measuring any radioactive presence on debris that floats ashore on Kachemak Bay beaches. The thought is that any materials from the meltdown of Japanese nuclear reactors that also occurred as the March tragedy unfolded could make some materials hazardous.
“What we need is a contingency plan, in case any potential hazardous debris gets here,” Shavelson said. A local plan isn’t in place yet, but NOAA has issued extensive guidelines.
Beachcombers should handle any suspected items with care, advises the NOAA National Ocean Service through its Marine Debris Program. A website is devoted to a full range of frequently asked questions to guide coastal residents who like to walk the beach and notice what comes ashore. One big question is whether the debris is radioactive. Continue reading