Stemming the Tide: The U.S. Response to Tsunami Generated Marine Debris, Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, United States Senate, One Hundred Twelfth Congress, Second Session, May 17, 2012 [open pdf - 1MB]
This is the May 17, 2012 hearing, "Stemming the Tide: The U.S. Response to Tsunami Generated Marine Debris," before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard. From the opening statement of Mark Begich: "The earthquake and tsunami which struck northern Japan just over a year ago was an unprecedented human tragedy. In minutes, it claimed thousands of lives, destroyed complete communities, and touched off the failure of nuclear power plants. The tsunami also left a legacy which our West Coast states, thousands of miles from the epicenter, are dealing with now and will deal with for many years to come. Marine debris is nothing new. Flotsam and jetsam has existed for centuries, made worse by the proliferation of plastics which do not degrade. To some, like beachcombers who find occasional messages in the bottle, it is a delight, but to others it is an eyesore or worse. Many now recognize marine debris as a threat to fish, marine mammals and seabirds, through death by entanglement and ingestion. The tsunami unleashed debris on an unprecedented scale. Some 5 million tons were swept out to sea. While most quickly sank, NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] estimates 1.5 million tons of tsunami-generated debris is still afloat and being driven by winds and currents toward the West Coast of North America. That is 3 billion pounds of mostly plastic trash which will flood into our inter-tidal ecosystems and it is already here." Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: Olympia Snowe, Maria Cantwell, Robert E. Andrew, John D. (Jay) Rockefeller, Mark Begich, David M. Kennedy, Daniel K. Inouye, Amy Klobuchar, and Cari B. Thomas.
S. Hrg. 112-757; Senate Hearing 112-757
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