DISASTERS

Massive marine debris removal project to get underway in Alaska

  • This undated photo provided by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, shows pelagic gooseneck barnacles (Lepas anatifera) established on a buoy off the Gulf of Alaska. The barnacles are native, open-ocean barnacles; the most common and abundant organism observed on marine debris. A massive cleanup effort is getting underway in Alaska, with tons of marine debris, some likely sent to sea by the 2011 tsunami in Japan, set to be airlifted from rocky beaches and taken by barge for recycling and disposal in the Pacific Northwest. (Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation via AP)

    This undated photo provided by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, shows pelagic gooseneck barnacles (Lepas anatifera) established on a buoy off the Gulf of Alaska. The barnacles are native, open-ocean barnacles; the most common and abundant organism observed on marine debris. A massive cleanup effort is getting underway in Alaska, with tons of marine debris, some likely sent to sea by the 2011 tsunami in Japan, set to be airlifted from rocky beaches and taken by barge for recycling and disposal in the Pacific Northwest. (Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY, JULY 12 AND THEREAFTER - In this undated photo provided by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, debris litters the shore on Montague Island, Alaska. A massive cleanup effort is getting underway in Alaska, with tons of marine debris, some likely sent to sea by the 2011 tsunami in Japan, set to be airlifted from rocky beaches and taken by barge for recycling and disposal in the Pacific Northwest. (Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation via AP)

    ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY, JULY 12 AND THEREAFTER - In this undated photo provided by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, debris litters the shore on Montague Island, Alaska. A massive cleanup effort is getting underway in Alaska, with tons of marine debris, some likely sent to sea by the 2011 tsunami in Japan, set to be airlifted from rocky beaches and taken by barge for recycling and disposal in the Pacific Northwest. (Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this undated photo provided by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, debris washes up on the beach on Montague Island, Alaska. A massive cleanup effort is getting underway in Alaska, with tons of marine debris, some likely sent to sea by the 2011 tsunami in Japan, set to be airlifted from rocky beaches and taken by barge for recycling and disposal in the Pacific Northwest. (Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation via AP)

    In this undated photo provided by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, debris washes up on the beach on Montague Island, Alaska. A massive cleanup effort is getting underway in Alaska, with tons of marine debris, some likely sent to sea by the 2011 tsunami in Japan, set to be airlifted from rocky beaches and taken by barge for recycling and disposal in the Pacific Northwest. (Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation via AP)  (The Associated Press)

A massive cleanup effort is getting underway in Alaska, with tons of marine debris set to be airlifted from rocky beaches and taken by barge for recycling and disposal in the Pacific Northwest.

Hundreds of heavy-duty bags of debris, stockpiled at a site in Kodiak, also will be shipped out. The barge is scheduled to arrive in Kodiak by Thursday, before setting off on a roughly one-month venture.

Chris Pallister, with the group Gulf of Alaska Keeper, says the complex project was spurred, in part, by the mass of material that's washed ashore and the high cost of shuttling small boatloads of debris from remote sites.

A state marine debris coordinator says changes in rules at the Anchorage landfill also contributed.