A huge concrete dock washed up on a beach in Oregon this week. The 66-foot dock was tossed into the ocean after a massive tsunami hit Japan last year. It then traveled about 5,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean to Agate Beach, Oregon.
Reuters reports that the dock had Japanese writing on it. Chris Havel, spokesman for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, confirmed that the dock did come from Japan.
“This is the first object that has washed up that was unique enough to confirm that it was, indeed, from the tsunami… It is from some area on the Northeast coast of Japan.”
The Huffington Post reports that the dock, which weighs an estimated 165 tons, is just a small portion of the Tsunami debris that is currently drifting in the ocean. Japan has estimated that 1.5 million tons of debris could still be on its way to American shores. Residents along the north-west coast are worried about possible radiation carried over by the debris. According to Reuters, the large dock tested negative for radiation.
Oregon officials are also worried that the debris may bring new species to the west coast.
John Chapman, a research scientist at Oregon State University, said:
“It’s almost certainly true that most of the things on this have not been introduced to this coast yet. We’re going to see more of these things coming…. This is a very clear threat… It’s incredibly difficult to predict what will happen next.”
Reuters reports that Oregon officials are currently working on removing the dock from the beach. As of now, Oregon will pay for its removal but there is some debate over who should be charged to deal with the debris.
“We will bear the cost right now. But in an unusual event like this, is there some other way to cover it? We don’t really know at this point.”