Business, Finance & Economics

Debris 'twice the size of Texas' from Japan's tsunami expected to hit US shores


Elementary school students walk beside the rubble after finishing their school in tsunami-devastated town of Otsuchi, Iwate prefecture on May 10, 2011. The debris from the tsunami are projected to hit Hawaiian coast lines by 2013.



Up to 20 million tons of debris from the 2011 tsunami that devastated parts of Japan are expected to hit Hawaiian coast lines by 2013.

The mass of wreckage that could marr the picturesque coast lines of Hawaii have been travelling faster than expected, scientists say. The garbage is projected to wash ashore on the West Coast by 2014.

"We don't want to create a panic, but it's good to know it's coming," University of Hawaii researcher Jan Hafner told Time.

A Russian ship spotted TVs, fridges and fishing boats from Japan near the Midway Islands in September. The debris are "twice the size of Texas," Mike Beck of the The Nature Conservancy said in an NBC Nightly News segment.

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The 2011 tsunami and 9.0-magnitude earthquake that triggered it crippled parts of Japan and left 20,000 people dead or missing. The deadly event also caused a nuclear crisis at Fukushima Daiichi plant that is considered the worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

Japan made headlines in April when the government dumped thousands of tons of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean to alleviate the then-mounting crisis at the nuclear plant.