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Begich Welcomes Japanese Contribution to Marine Debris Effort


U.S. Senator Mark Begich welcomed the gift of $6 million by the Government of Japan to help address marine debris from the 2011 tsunami.  The gift, which includes $5 million for the United States and $1 million for the Canadian province of British Columbia, was announced at the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Valdivostok, Russia.

“The 2011 earthquake and tsunami devastated northeast Japan, claiming thousands and lives destroying entire coastal communities.  It also swept 1.5 million tons of debris out to sea which is now making landfall along the west coast from California and Hawaii to the Gulf of Alaska,” Begich said. “Alaskans greatly appreciate this gift of $5 million to the U.S. to help combat this debris as a goodwill gesture between two close friends, trading partners, and allies. It will help West Coast states, including Alaska, cope with the onslaught of debris expected along our shores over the next few years.

“It is now time for the federal government to step forward with a plan for a coordinated interagency response to address this problem in the long term and the necessary funding to supplement this generous gift from the Japanese people.  Meager federal funding of just $250,000 remains inadequate to address this slow-motion disaster which is impacting all of the Pacific coast states.”

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