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.

Just Posted

At the age of 95, local bowler shows no signs of slowing down

Olive Olmsted has bowled for more than 55 years

Colwood wins Victoria Flower Count for a five-peat

The 43rd annual Flower Count had over three billion blossoms counted in total

Royal Bay junior boys bring back lacrosse banner

The Ravens sent three teams to the provincial championships

Langford fundraiser for kidney disease is a success

Maureen Hobbs thinks B.C. Transplant says it best: “Live life. Pass it on.”

Preschool group helps release fish into Glen Lake

The number of fish released correlates to the number of fish caught per year

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Anti-pipeline protestors block Kinder Morgan tanker near Seattle

Protest was spurred on by the 28 anti-Kinder Morgan activists arrested in Burnaby

Women’s Expo seeks to empower women this weekend

Victoria Women’s Expo set for Saturday and Sunday at Pearkes Recreation Centre

Mount Douglas Mathletes enjoying success by the numbers

Saanich Grade 9s walk away with top five spots in Island math competition

B.C. cyclist races to first win of the season in New Zealand

Casey Brown captures Enduro title by more than two minutes at Crankworx Rotorua

Notorious Russian troll farm also took swipes at Canadian targets

Targets included oil infrastructure and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Cirque du Soleil aerialist dies after fall during Florida show

Longtime performer fell while performing in VOLTA

Some surprises in new book about B.C. labour movement

“On the Line” charts history of the union movement back to the 1800s

Canada earns second Paralympic Games silver in 20 years

Held 1-0 lead in para hockey game from 12:06 of first to dying seconds of third and lost in overtime

Most Read