Trash Free Seas

Tsunami Debris: What You Need to Know

Get the latest news on tsunami debris, what Ocean Conservancy is doing to help address the problem and what you can do.

Tsunami Debris: What You Need to Know - Tsunami debris discovered on the coasts of Alaska. Photo: NOAA

The earthquake and subsequent tsunami that occurred last March in Japan swept approximately 5 million tons of debris into the Pacific Ocean, according to the Japanese Ministry of the Environment. While uncertainty remains on how much of this debris will reach the United States, the potential impact on our ocean's health from tsunami debris is huge.

Tsunami Debris Basics


Tsunami Debris 101

Get straight answers to the facts and myths of tsunami debris and what we can do to help.


If You Find Suspected Tsunami Debris

Here are some tips on what you should do if you find tsunami debris. 


What is Tsunami Debris?

How can you tell tsunami debris from regular ocean trash? Our scientist has the answers. 


Tsunami Debris Field Guide

Learn about the most common items that have been washing onto beaches in large numbers. 

Videos: Get Inspired


Surveying Tsunami Debris in Japan

Tsunami's devastation still event in Japan as recovery efforts continue. 



Cleaning Up Tsunami Debris in Alaska

Removing tsunami debris from Alaskan coasts to promote ecosystem resilience.


Monitoring Tsunami Debris on the West Coast

Baseline monitoring efforts will help us understand the effects of tsunami debris on the West Coast.


Get the Latest from The Blog Aquatic

Tsunamis are Unavoidable; Trash Choking Our Ocean Is Not

To prepare for tsunami debris hitting our shores, we should prioritize baseline monitoring, modeling and outreach in communities.

Partnering with NOAA, Prepping for Tsunami Debris

Ocean Conservancy staff is working with NOAA to establish scientific baselines before tsunami debris hits.

Surfers Find a Way and So Will Japan

Scientist Nick Mallos travels to Japan and joins forces with Cleanup Gamo and Japan Environmental Action Network to clean up marine debris.

Tsunami's Devastation Still Evident in Tohoku Region of Japan

Scientist Nick Mallos visits Japan to study first-hand what might be headed to our shores.

Read More Posts on Tsunami Debris

See all of the posts we've done on effects of tsunami debris on The Blog Aquatic. 

Help Keep Our Ocean Clean

Learn how you can help stop ocean trash and protect special places across the ocean.


Tsunami Debris 101

While oceanographers are monitoring the Japanese tsunami debris, there are many questions and misconceptions about it that need to be addressed.

What is Tsunami Debris?

As volunteers host cleanups and beachgoers encounter ocean trash, they will be faced with the basic question: What is tsunami debris? Ocean Conservancy scientist Nick Mallos has the answer.

What to Do if You Find Tsunami Debris

If you are a beach-goer on the West Coast, you are increasingly likely to find tsunami debris. Here are some basic guidelines on what to do.

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