How do you remove from the ocean more than 100,000 tons of Japanese tsunami debris heading for Northwest shores? By hand, says one expert.
“When you’re talking about open ocean … It’s a very big ocean,” says Andrea Neal, an experienced ocean cleaner. “There isn’t a whole lot being done in the open ocean.”
That’s because most programs devoted to cleaning marine debris focus on prevention and coastal cleanup. When crews do confront debris in the open ocean, cleanup efforts require hands, a ship and supplies which can cost more than $35,000 per day to operate, because the composition of the debris makes it difficult to get out of the ocean.