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Japanese plastic tsunami debris spotted in Hawaii

By: Jeremy Carroll

September 24, 2012

WAIMANALO, HAWAII (Sept. 24, 12:50 p.m. ET) — A plastic cube from Japan recently washed ashore in Hawaii. It is the first known piece of debris to wash ashore in Hawaii from the tsunami that rocked Japan in 2011.

A four-foot cube plastic bin is the first confirmed piece of Japanese tsunami debris to wash ashore in Hawaii, officials from the state said.

The large plastic bin was found floating in the ocean near Waimanalo, Oahu on Sept. 18. Officials were able to confirm the bin belonged to Y.K. Suisan Co. Ltd. and was lost during the March 2011 tsunami.

Barnacle and crab found on the debris were not found to be invasive in Hawaii and the bin had normal radiation readings, officials said.

William Aila Jr., chairman of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, praised the Japanese government and officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for their quick work to help identify the piece of debris.

"It is encouraging that our agencies and governments are working together so cohesively in identifying potential Japan tsunami marine debris," he said in a statement.

There might be as much as 2 million tons of debris floating in the Pacific Ocean from the tsunami with the bulk of it expected to wash ashore starting in 2013.