East Hawaii News

State to Apply For Grant to Clean Up Debris

July 17, 2012, 5:19 PM HST
* Updated July 17, 11:12 PM
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Although officials say it will “barely begin” to cover the costs involved, the state will apply for a $50,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to clean up debris from the March 2011 tsunami in Japan, the Associated Press reported.

Gary Gill, the Department of Health’s deputy director for environmental health, told AP that the grant will have to be supplemented by additional funds.

The DOH, together with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, will encourage non-profit groups to seek grant funds for local beach clean-ups.

NOAA said Monday it will provide the $50,000 grants to Hawai`i, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California.

According to NOAA, the Japan Ministry of the Environment estimated that the tsunami washed 5 million tons of debris into the ocean. Japanese officials believe roughly 70% of that sank near the coast of Japan.

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NOAA said computer modeling indicates that most of the debris is scattered across a broad expanse of the Pacific Ocean and likely will continue to disperse north of Hawaii and east of Midway Atoll.

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Some of the debris has already begun to reach US and Canadian shores, and more is expected to arrive over the next several years.

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