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NBC reports on tsunami debris hitting Hawaii

By: Don Loepp

December 11, 2012

The NBC Nightly News is looking at how plastic waste from the Japanese tsunami is fouling beaches and impacting wildlife in Hawaii.

Miguel Almaguer's reports: "With the largest wave of tsunami debris expected to wash ashore in the next several months, researchers say what's out in the open waters right now will only compound an already serious problem. Mounds of trash like fishing nets are collecting where wildlife live and feed."

Like Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle," the story aims at both viewers hearts and stomachs. There are visuals of seals and a shark entangled in plastics, big pieces of plastic recovered from dead birds, and an ominous report that microplastics are being found in fish commonly eaten by tuna and salmon.

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I noted recently in the Plastics Blog that the global plastics industry is putting effort into the marine debris issue ("What's the plastics industry doing about marine litter?").

It's noteworthy that NBC didn't find any of the industry efforts to date worth including in the report.

As tsunami debris continues to hit Hawaii -- and the West Coast -- this is an issue that's going to continue to attract headlines and public attention.