To mark the second anniversary of the March 11 disaster, student volunteers in Vancouver spent two days dealing with the lingering effects. They collected more than 40 large trash bags of tsunami debris that has been littering beaches on Vancouver Island’s Pacific Rim National Park.

The clean-up was organized by a group called Japan Love Project, which brought together its 10 members and 22 other volunteers to comb approximately 20 kilometers of beach for debris carried across the ocean from Japan. The volunteers spent two 8-hour days collecting car tires, fishing gear like nets and buoys, building lumber, Styrofoam, soft drink bottles and myriad other flotsam from across the Pacific. All total, they separated and bagged 43 large garbage bags from five beaches.

Afterwards, the group gathered at Ucluelet’s Big Beach with Mayor Bill Irving to offer flowers and a silent prayer to the victims.

Experts are predicting 1.5 million tons of debris to wash up on North American shores. Many stakeholders, including NGOs like World Wildlife Fund, aquariums and state and national governments, have been cooperating to recruit volunteers and advise on safe clean-up methods. The province of British Columbia has published guidelines for volunteers, including reporting debris deemed too hazardous for the public to remove and treating anything that looks like it was personal property with appropriate respect.

Japan Love Project, an association for Japanese students in Vancouver, was started shortly after the March 11 disaster and has since been involved with various fundraising and charity events. Their press representative Eri Akai said, “Today’s clean-up efforts were our first experience cooperating with the local people. Given that the tsunami debris is expected to continue washing up here, we are hoping to continue arranging this type of event in the future.”

Source: Minkei News Online Vancouver