Editorial: Tsunami cleanup readiness crucial

As potentially dangerous debris from Japan's tsumani washes up on B.C.'s shore, the need for a plan grows more pressing.

Coastal authorities in B.C., including those in the Capital Region, have long been putting together tsunami and earthquake preparedness plans.

But the need is growing greater for the three levels of government to have a definite plan in place to deal with potentially environmentally dangerous debris from last year’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan washing up on B.C. coastlines.

Items ripped apart by the powerful waves, much of them covered with sea life that could threaten native species, have for months been arriving on the western shorelines of Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii. Residents and others concerned about threats to the pristine nature of coastal areas have been doing their best to remove the material.

No one knows, given the unpredictable nature of ocean currents, just how much flotsam will reach B.C. shores in the coming months and years. But enough has arrived already to inform provincial and federal authorities of the extent of the problem.

The province is in a “fact-gathering stage” on the issue, said Environment Minister Terry Lake, who last week toured Haida Gwaii. His comments that any cleanup plan must be a joint effort between local, provincial and federal governments and First Nations make sense, but indicate the province is not willing to take the lead on tackling this problem.

When a Harley-Davidson motorcycle in a packing crate washed up on a Haida Gwaii beach in April, and its owner, who had lost three family members and his home in the disaster, was located, it was a bittersweet story. But the washing ashore of a 20-metre concrete and steel dock in Oregon on June 6 was a further sign that the worst is likely yet to come.

This week’s shockingly low cleanup grant of $50,000 from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, for each of the five states affected, shows how low this issue is on that government’s priority list.

We hope our federal government, already showing a similar lack of respect for the environment through budget cuts, does not take a similar tack by downplaying this serious issue.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rain Walk returns Saturday to raise funds for cancer support

Rain Walk group Team Teal indebted to Inspire Health

Motion for Saanich to stand with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in pipeline debate postponed

One week delay provides more time to build community support, councillor says

UPDATED: Pat Bay Highway blockade ends three hours later

About 80 people from four major Peninsula First Nations blocking major highway

Central Saanich Police prepared for afternoon shut-down of Highway 17

Sgt. Paul Brailey questions efficacy of protest

City of Langford rebrands, announces several projects

‘Langford, where it all happens’ is the City’s new slogan

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day in Victoria

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

Trucking company fined $175K for Kootenay creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

B.C. Liberals call for ban on foreign funds to pipeline protesters

Sierra Club, Wilderness Committee back Coastal GasLink blockades

Most Read