Environmental advocates from both sides of the Pacific toured Cannon Beach Saturday to get a firsthand look at issues connected to tsunami debris clean-up. Nicholas Mallos with the group Ocean Conservancy says it's true that ocean debris is common on Pacific beaches. But the natural disaster that struck Japan last year poses different challenges for clean-up.
"It's likely that when debris begins washing up," Mallos says, "we're going to see housing and construction material, potentially a lot of fishing material. A lot of the coastal towns that were swept up by the tsunami were heavily reliant on fishing industry. You could see combustible items, items that contain chemicals."
Mallos' group will convene a workshop in Portland today through Tuesday, along with its local partner, SOLV, and the Japan Environmental Action Network, to talk about strategies for preparedness.
Also this Tuesday, the Governor's Task Force on Tsunami Debris will hold a second meeting.
This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.