Since the devastating tsunami and earthquake that triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster nearly three years ago, we've been asked many questions by concerned Canadians about the spread of radiation to West Coast waters, ecosystems and food sources.
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David Suzuki has written articles that summarize the credible scientific literature as it emerges:
We've noticed, however, an enormous gap between the public's level of concern and the availability of radiation monitoring data from our West Coast ocean. In fact, no government agency in Canada or elsewhere in North America is monitoring the spread of the radioactive particles originating at Fukushima.
This gap can lead people to non-credible sources of (mis)information, which have been spreading like wildfire through social media. Scientists at the renowned Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have now filled the gap with a crowd-sourced citizen science project called Our Radioactive Ocean. The David Suzuki Foundation partnered with WHOI to support two sites where citizen scientists are engaged in seawater sampling: one on Haida Gwaii and the other on Vancouver Island. Samples are sent to WHOI for analysis with results posted to Our Radioactive Ocean website along with other updates about Fukushima.
Each sample costs several hundred dollars to collect, transport and analyze. If you are concerned about Fukushima radiation and gaining a better understanding of the spread of radiation to the West Coast, you may want to propose a new sampling location or show your support by contributing to this effort through a donation at this link.
Your contribution will help us all better understand the levels of radiation in our ocean waters. The measurements will help scientists to compile a baseline for radiation counts as the particles from Japan begin to reach us on the Pacific West Coast.