What to do if you find possible tsunami debris

NEWPORT, Ore. - Even as state officials work to remove the Japanese dock that washed ashore on the Oregon Coast last week, more debris likely from the March 2011 tsunami continues to come ashore.

A container of some kind and a large float washed up on Sunset Beach in Clatsop County this week. Smaller pieces of debris - mostly styrofoam and plastic - are also washing up on the Oregon coast.

State officials are working on a coastwide plan for disposal of tsunami debris and exploring how to pay for it.

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The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department said Oregon Coast outlined how visitors and residents can help if they find large amounts of debris they think may be from the tsunami:

Litter and other typical marine debris
Examples: Plastic bottles, aluminum cans, buoys, Styrofoam

If practical, we encourage you to remove the debris and recycle as much of it as possible. Use your judgment -- if you see a significant amount of debris or anything you think might be related to the tsunami, send an email with the date, location and photos to beach.debris@state.or.us.

Derelict vessel or other large debris items
Examples: Adrift fishing boat, shipping containers

Contact 911. If the debris is a hazard to navigation, contact the US Coast Guard Pacific Area Command at 510-437-3701 for assistance. Do not attempt to move or remove vessels.

Mementos or possessions
Examples: Items with unique identifiers, names, or markings.

If an item can 1) be traced back to an individual or group and 2) has personal or monetary value, contact the department at 1-888-953-7677 or by email at beach.debris@state.or.us so arrangements can be made for return of items to Japan.

Potential hazardous materials
Examples: Oil or chemical drums, gas cans, propane tanks.

Call the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802 to report the item with as much information as possible. Do not touch the item or attempt to move it.

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