POSTED: 8:06 a.m. HST, Oct 1, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 8:07 a.m. HST, Oct 1, 2013
It's been 2 1/2 years since a tsunami devastated the northern coast of Japan and debris continues to wash up on island beaches.
Heath officials are assessing the contents of a 4-foot gas cylinder, which has Japanese writing on it, that was removed from Lanikai Beach Thursday afternoon.
Laura Stevens, Department of Land and Natural Resources spokeswoman, said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that 1,233 items were reported to its disaster debris site since it was initiated in late December 2011 following the tsunami that hit Fukushima in March of that year.
"Not all debris that reaches our shore can be confirmed from the 2011 Japan tsunami event," Stevens said.
Stevens said of the items reported to the NOAA disaster debris site, 200 items have been reported from Hawaii.
"Only 12 items from Hawaii have been confirmed by the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu," Stevens said.
One of the tsunami-related item was a blue plastic bin that had a live bird inside.
Capt. Terry Seelig, Honolulu Fire Department spokesman, said firefighters and the agency's hazardous materials crew were dispatched to a rocky portion of the beach in Kailua off Mokulua Drive just before 9:30 a.m. Thursday to investigate the report.
Seelig said fire investigators determined that there was nothing leaking from the cylinder. Residents told fire officials that the cylinder may have been on the beach for the past three weeks.
The cylinder was reported to be approximately 4 feet long by 18 inches wide and weighing 150 pounds.
A resident riding his bicycle on Thursday reported it to the Honolulu Fire Department.
Hawaii is one of five western states that were given $250,000 each from a $5 million gift from Japan for cleanup of debris from the 2011 tsunami. NOAA is administering the fund.
Seelig said residents finding anything washing up on island beaches should report their findings as soon as possible, so officials safely remove them.