Tsunami debris, garbage plucked from Clayoquot Sound beaches

About 100 volunteers helped chip away at an estimated 4,530 kilograms of garbage and tsunami debris on the remote beaches around Clayoquot Sound on Saturday, organizers said.

“It went really well, especially considering the weather and the rain,” said Kathy MacRae, director of marketing for Clayoquot Wilderness Resort. “The barbecue was a bit wet, but everyone came back with smiles on their faces and it was a fantastic day.”

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Volunteers arrived from Vancouver, Victoria, Tofino, Uclulet and, in one couple’s case, Oregon, to join what was billed as the Flores Island Wildside Beach Clean Up.

Among the debris, they found water bottles and pieces of wood with Japanese script on them, thought to have travelled across the Pacific Ocean from Japan after the devastating March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The amount of garbage and debris collected has not yet been calculated.

“We haven’t done a final count yet,” MacRae said.

Members of the Ahousaht First Nation participated in the cleanup alongside volunteers organized by Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, Atleo River Air Service, Wildside Trail and Jamie’s Whaling Station.

Atleo identified areas in need of cleaning from the air. They provided access to remote areas via water taxis.

Long Beach Lodge Resort, which offered a reduced rate of $160 for double-occupancy rooms, was full for the weekend, MacRae said.

“They had a full house,” she said.

The Japanese government estimates that about 1.5 million tonnes of debris washed out into the ocean from northeast Japan in the aftermath of the tsunami.


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