The Fukushima power plant meltdown isn't the only environmental problem created by the Japan tsunami. Refrigerators, TVs, rooftops and other items that the tsunami swept away last year are now floating in the Pacific Ocean, the Washington Post reported. Officials expect the debris to get caught in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
The tsunami, which killed 15,844 people and left over 3,000 missing, also washed out 8 million tons of debris to the sea. Most of the debris sank near the shore, the Los Angeles Times reported. But the debris that didn't sink has since traveled 3,000 miles away.
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The debris could first show up on the North coast of Hawaii this winter, the Associated Press reported. It may reach parts of the West Coast by 2013.
The trash is currently moving toward the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also known as the Pacific Trash Vortex, a Texas-sized area in the central North Pacific Ocean made of up trash. The trash is formed by plastic waste that is not bio-degradable, chemical sludge and other items. The marine garbage already in the ocean will make it difficult for scientists to distinguish between trash from the Japan tsunami and trash from the rest of the world, the LA Times reported.
However, there may not be much of a difference between tsunami trash vs. regular trash. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told the AP that the debris from Japan isn't contaminated with radiation from the Fukushima plant.