Visitors can take simple steps to keep beaches clean

Staff reportMay 25, 2014 

This boat, found at Westport on Jan. 15, was washed away from Japan by the March 11, 2011, tsunami. The boat was identified as personal property from the Miyagi Prefecture. The owner did not want the boat returned.

STATE DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY

With Memorial Day weekend kicking off the summer fun season, plenty of people will be visiting Washington beaches.

The Washington State Marine Debris Task Force is urging beach visitors to help keep beaches clean by following the “leave it better than you found it” concept. People can help by removing and disposing small nonhazardous debris found on the beach.

General marine debris such as plastic bottles and floats, Styrofoam, pieces of lumber, crates and other small moveable objects are not considered hazardous, and can easily be removed from a beach.

But every year, hazardous materials wash ashore on the state’s beaches, including spilled oil, drums and barrels, fuel tanks and gas containers, gas cylinders, chemical totes and containers with unknown fluids.

Be sure to not touch potentially hazardous debris. It’s best that these items are handled by professionals. Call 800-645-7911 to report possible hazardous debris.

While the amount of tsunami debris washing ashore on Washington beaches has abated, people are still encouraged to report debris believed to be from the Japanese tsunami.

Most recently, a small boat washed out to sea by the tsunami came ashore in Westport in January.

You can email a report to disasterdebris@noaa.gov. Be sure to include photographs of the debris if you have them, and also the specific location of the debris.

Beachgoers can report potential aquatic invasive species by calling 360-902-2700 or file an online invasive species report form at wdfw.wa.gov/ais/reporting. Again, sending in photographs is helpful.

For more information, go to the state’s tsunami/marine debris website at marinedebris.wa.gov/index.html.

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