Two journalists recently uncovered and discussed the short and long term environmental damage from the March tsunami in Japan. Beside the fact that much of the toxic wastes will/has flowed into the ocean, they discovered that the existing toxic sludge already at the sea’s bottom was churned up by the tsunami and washed into the soils during the tsunami flooding.
Neptune 911 encourages its readers to read
Chemical Aftermath: Contamination and Cleanup Following the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami by Winifred A. Bird and Elizabeth Grossman.
The journalists discussed their July 1, 2011 report with Environmental Health Perspectives.
The following is a brief out take from the interview:
AHEARN: So, give me a rundown of the environmental health impacts you found that you feel were most important to discuss in here.
GROSSMAN: Well, I think answering that, I do have to preface it by saying that one of the things we both found—Winnie on the ground and in Japan, and in the research I did at a distance trying to talk to government agencies and to any of the companies with facilities in the affected area—is that a real thorough assessment of what is in the soil, what is in all of that mud and sludge, and what is in all of that debris—that actually hasn’t been done yet.
So what we were able to find was kind of an inventory of what is potentially out there, and the things that seem of most obvious concern are related to fossil fuels. There were oil refineries that were on fire, so there would be chemicals like benzene, diesel fuel, different kinds of petrochemicals. And there are also a lot of petrochemical processing plants. There are a lot of high-tech facilities. There will be solvents. Those would be the things that would be of most potential concern over the long haul.