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The super rare object sputtered from albatross stomach
May 28, 2018
This is a super rare object sputtered from an albatross stomach found at Kure Atoll Island in Hawaii, located 1,370 miles Northwest of Honolulu. This island is known as one of the breeding sites of albatross; however this solitary island far off in the Northern Pacific Ocean is also thickly covered with enormous amounts of marine debris washed ashore. As a consequence of this debris, thousands of albatross die from obstruction in their digestive system and thousands of chicks die as they absorb no nutritional value from the plastic debris fed by their mother albatross.

The object (Size: 105 mm x 45 mm) of this image contains many plastic particles, fishing lines, fishing nets, plastic shopping bag fragments, small metal pieces, and many other non-digestive marine debris. This may give us new findings on the ecological impact of marine debris to the coastal and marine species.
Analyzation and evaluation will be fully performed by Professor Saido’s laboratory. We are hoping to introduce details of the analytical findings in the near future.
Image subject: Sputtered stomach contents (gastro-esophageal reflux) of albatross
Size: 105 mm x 45 mm
Image provided by: Dr. Katsuhiko Saido, Professor of School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), University of Hawaii at Manoa. Professor and senior Scientist of Nippon University Graduate School of Engineering Research, Japan
Photo taken: July 2017
Photo by: Marvin D. Heskett, Senior Chemist at Element Environmental LLC
Location: Kure Atoll Island, Hawaii (28.393157, -178.293414). 1,370 mils (2,200 km) NW of Honolulu, HI.
Alert of plastic container with sulphuric acid,
hydrochloric acid and hydrogen peroxide
April 22, 2018
According to the Japanese Ministry of the Environment (JME), these plastic containers are drifting ashore to coastal areas across Japan. These containers have mostly identical dimensions of: 9” x 11” x 20” or 24cm x 28cm x 50cm.) According to JME, driftage of these containers started in 2006 and the highest number of arrival in its peak year was in 2016. The total number collected along shorelines during the peak year was 16,029, but these containers are continuing to be found on shorelines to this day. 

Among plastic bottles collected at the beach, about 12% of containers were holding chemicals like sulphuric acid (H2SO4), hydrochloric acid (HCI), and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). JME analyzed that these chemicals are commonly employed by seaweed farmers in South Korea, despite the government’s banning of use of unsafe chemical for food products. 

Another problem is that these plastic containers are illegally dumped in to the ocean and many of them are discharged to the Pacific Ocean.
At our marine debris research at the Ocean Shores on April 1, 2018, we found one of these identical plastic containers for the first time.
If you find this plastic container at beaches of the Pacific Northwest, please keep it in a strong garbage bag to take to the local Health Department for safe disposal. Please be especially caution if the cap is on and liquid-like content still remain inside. 
According to the GHS (Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals), Sulphuric acid and hydrochloric acid are classified as follow;
Hazard statement: H 314, H 335 
H 314: Causes severe skin burns and damage
H 335: May cause respiratory irritation
A Home in a Small Lightbulb
July 30, 2014
Amphipoda, a group of macroplanktons find a home in a small light bulb. This demonstrates a good example of why we can't simply remove all debris from the ocean or shore. Many debris have come to shelter marine life, so it is harmful to them if we simply dispose of the debris they are in.
Light bulb found during marine debris research at Ocean Shores on July 17, 2014

Arrival Survey at Ocean Shores ( July 17, 2014)

Please click HERE to see survey result.

On July 17, 2014, we went to Ocean Shores (0.5mile south of the Elk Creek River) for another marine debris research.

The arrival situation will give us a view of the overall situation of Asian originated marine debris traveling along the Kuroshio (Black Current) and some of them are reaching the beaches of the Pacific Northwest. With a total of 28 Asian marine debris found, it was the most we have found so far. We also found the most debris originating from Japan than we have in the past. Among those, was a propane tank, which you can view below. Due to its potential hazard on the shore, we called the Washington State Department of Ecology to retrieve the tank.

Survey at Ocean Shores in the Pacific Northwest

Please click HERE to see survey result.
(March 28, 2013)
On March 28, 2013, we did another arrival situation research of Asian marine debris at the coast of Ocean Shores in Washington State. An interesting observation to make in this survey are the additions of debris not following the usual find of beverage bottles and bottle caps.
We also collected more Japanese debris compared to previous research surveys done.
This may or may not suggest a possible correlation with the Japanese Tsunami of 2011.
Survey at Ocean Shores in the Pacific Northwest

Please click HERE to see survey result.
(Aug. 7, 2013)
On August 6 through 7, 2012, we had another arrival situation research of Asian related marine debris at two beaches along the coast of Washington State.

Those beaches were Ocean Shores and Copalis National Wildlife Refuge near Forks, the famous movie location town from the "Twilight Saga".
We measured radiation dose with a SMB-20 Geiger muller counter tube equipped radiation detector
Survey at Ocean Shores in the Pacific Northwest
(April 28-29, 2012)
We made another arrival situation survey of marine debris which were originated in Southeast Asian countries and Japanese Tsunami related marine debris which was occurred right after the magnitude 9.1 earth quake on Mar. 11, 2011.

Please click HERE to see survey result.
A Japanese fishing boat, lost at sea last year spotted off the coast of
British Columbia in western Canada.
(Mar. 25, 2012)
A Japanese fishing boat that was lost at sea on March 11 of last year was spotted this year on March 20 off the coast of Queen Charlotte Islands of British Colombia in Canada.

We were able to locate the owner of this boat in Hakodate of Hokkaido, but the ship was anchored at Hachinohe Port in Aomori Prefecture at the time the tsunami hit Northern Japan.

Photo Courtesy: Canadian Department of National Defense 

The image blow is our own calculation based on the actual day by day ocean current direction and speed data, using NOAA's Ocean Surface Current Simulator.
The red line is our course calculation of debris starting from Hachinohe port (40.5472, 141.530914 ). This line is a calculation without any wind elements, so the end of the red line is supposed to be the basic prediction of the location of debris as of March 24, 2012, 379 days after the tsunami.

However, this boat came much closer to the Pacific Northwest (yellow line), only 278 km off the west of Queen Charlotte Island. This fishing boat has reached the Pacific Northwest at an amazingly fast speed than we originally anticipated. This may be because larger debris get more tail wind effects.

Second Annual Survey at the Pacific Northwest  
(Sep. 8, 2011)

Through September 5th and 6th, we conducted our second arrival survey research at Ocean Shores, WA.
The purpose is to find any marine debris that may have drifted from Asia through ocean currents.

Please click HERE to see more detail.
(Aug. 23, 2011)

Visiting NOAA

On July 29, 2011, we visited Mr. Nir Barnea at his office located at NOAA’s Western Regional Center in Seattle. Mr. Barnea is the West Coast Regional Coordinator and one of the key personal who introduced us to new technological and methodological approaches. It was a very exciting and educational experience to tour the huge facility and meet with wonderful researchers.

We were introduced to Dr. Glen Watabayashi and Ms. Nicole Rutherford, who gave us a briefing about their recent research programs. Dr. Watabayashi is an oceanographer who develops real-time simulations of ocean currents. His research allows others to view the affect that ocean currents have on marine debris. Ms. Rutherford is a biologist who is currently working on the restoration of the Elwha Dam that is located in the Olympic National Park near Port Angeles of Washington state.

We have one more important person from NOAA. Ms. Carey Morishige is Outreach Coordinator of NOAA’s Honolulu Office and has always been helpful by providing us with information and other resources needed for our research and outreach programs.

(July 24 , 2011)
Thank you, 5th International Marine Debris Conference
The Miyakojima Project and Miyakojima Kids Net gave a commitment speech during the Commitment Lunch on March 22, 2011
in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Miyakojima Project
Commitment Announcement (PDF)


440 people from 38 different countries attended this 5 days conference
Miyakojima Project poster presentation ran from March 21 through March 23
Please visit 5th International Marine Debris Conference Report
Finding the Cause of the Dead Turtle
(Feb. 13, 2011)

We found a dead turtle at a beach park in Miyako Island on Feb. 13, 2011. If you are curious about the cause of the turtle's death and more pictures, please click here.

Beach Cleanup in Miyako Island
(Oct. 03, 2010)
We had a beach cleanup on Oct. 3, 2010, which was a nice and sunny day. The size of this small beach is about 100 meters long and 10 meters wide, but surprisingly, we filled a lot of bags with a variety of marine debris.
We are very happy to see that this beach became trash free after a long day of cleaning up.

See more photos
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