On top of the rest of the plastics industry's marine litter problems, get ready for a new twist. Experts say debris from last year's tsunami that devastated parts of Japan are headed for the West Coast of the United States and Canada. According to a "West Coast officials agree on plan to deal with tsunami debris" from The Canadian Press, the tsunami swept 5 million metric tons of debris into the ocean. The experts say the debris will hit North American beaches later this year or in early 2013. And given the nature of marine trash, the most visible products are going to be plastic. I've heard people argue that marine litter is an education problem, not a plastics problems. But this tsunami debris is pretty clear proof that the issue isn't quite so black and white. We're not talking about people intentionally failing to dispose of or recycle their plastic trash -- this was unavoidable. Unless the industry gets out in front of this issue, it's got the potential to be a black eye.
Emerging issue: tsunami debris
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