Pumice stone from the underwater volcanic swamp of Japanese ports

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OKINAWA, Japan: Significant amounts of gray pumice stone that appeared after the Fukutokuokanoba underwater volcano eruption a few months ago has clogged dozen of ports and damaged fishing boats along the southern coast of Japan.

On Friday, Deputy Cabinet Secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki said the pumice stone had appeared in 11 ports in Okinawa and 19 in Kagoshima Prefecture on Japan’s southernmost island of Kyushu, forcing the Japanese government to set up a disaster relief task force.

About 40 fishing boats were damaged and ferry services between the remote islands of Okinawa and Kagoshima were temporarily suspended because of the pumice stone.

According to Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki, the pumice stone “had a major impact on the fishing and tourism industries and the environment.”

“We have no choice but to continue the cleanup through trial and error,” he said, as reported by Kyodo News.

The gray pebbles come from the volcano along the Ogasawara island chain, hundreds of kilometers away, which erupted in mid-August.

The Japanese Coast Guard released a map showing the drift pattern of the pebbles as ships in the area are warned to ensure their engines are not affected.

Isozaki warned that the pebbles could move north and affect entire Japanese coasts, saying, “Since the pumice stone on the ocean surface could spread to a wide area of ​​Japan, we will continue to look carefully at the matter,” like The. reports Guardian.

At their first meeting on Thursday, the new government task force pledged to assist local communities as part of a civil protection project, adding that damage to the fishing industry will be covered by insurance, Isozaki said.

Meanwhile, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported that about 750 fishing boats were unable to leave Okinawa harbor and about 150 locally raised Indian mackerel died after apparently swallowing pumice stone.

The nuclear regulatory agency is also monitoring the movement of the pebbles to protect Japan’s coastal nuclear power plants.


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