Debris as a Long-Term Recovery Problem

Huge amounts of debris, much of it in the Pacific ocean, was a major issue after the Sendai earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  Now we are seeing the U.S. version with massive amounts of debris in the Atlantic Ocean in the aftermath of H. Sandy. See this article from the AP:  Hurricane Sandy Debris Threatens Tourism In New Jersey, New York, Connecticut.  Since beach vacations are a major income source for the states affected, they are scrambling to make their beaches attractive and safe for visitors.  Some excerpts from the article:

On the surface, things look calm and placid. Just beneath the waterline, however, it’s a different story. Cars and sunken boats. Patio furniture. Pieces of docks. Entire houses. A grandfather clock, deposited in a marsh a mile from solid land. Hot tubs. Tons of sand. All displaced by Superstorm Sandy.The sunken debris presents an urgent safety issue. Swimmers could cut themselves on submerged junk, step on one of thousands of boardwalk nails ripped loose, or suffer neck or spinal injuries diving into solid objects. Boats could hit debris, pitching their occupants overboard, or in severe cases, sinking.

The cleanup won’t be easy, fast or cheap. “The amount of debris that needs to be removed is mind-boggling,” New Jersey Gov.

Chris Christie said, ticking off the statistics in his state: 1,400 vessels sunk, broken loose or destroyed during the storm.

One concern I have heard being voiced by people working in NJ to help with recovery is whether state and local officials are thinking about long-term economic needs and not just getting ready for this summer’s vacation business.

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One Response to Debris as a Long-Term Recovery Problem

  1. Sea-debris was also a problem along the Gulf Coast after Katrina (It was part of a project looking at damage/debris after Katrina). NY, NJ et al ought to talk to MS and AL about its fate.

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