An update to the government's Tsunami Debris Management Plan is now available online, just in time for the winter storm season along the BC coast.
The updated joint federal-provincial plan provides additional information and management protocols including: monitoring and surveillance of debris, collection and disposal of debris, and volunteer engagement.
No single level of government or agency is solely responsible for this situation. Leadership and an effective response by all levels of government, including First Nations and local governments, is needed to address the situation on BC's long and geographically complex coast.
Terry Lake, Minister of Environment: says, "With the latest update to our Tsunami Debris Management Plan, we are continuing to move forward with a well-prepared, co-ordinated plan that can be adjusted as the situation changes. The arrival of tsunami debris is a unique situation, and we continue to engage with and receive valuable input from those who would be most affected - coastal communities, First Nations, and local governments."
Ministry staff, led by the regional director for tsunami debris, Jonn Braman, has been in discussions with local governments and First Nations over the last month, gathering local knowledge and input. Some of the early concerns centre around the costs associated with recycling and landfilling tsunami debris and the possibility of aquatic
invasive species washing ashore along the coast.
First Nations and local governments are being advised to monitor tsunami debris impact to their disposal systems over time and are urged to flag their concerns if they notice an increase beyond what they can reasonably manage. Through these discussions, it has been clarified that tsunami debris management is expected to be a shared cost.
Marine debris is common on BC's coast, and it takes time to differentiate between tsunami-related debris and normal debris. To date there has been less than 20 pieces of confirmed debris from the tsunami.