Shipping container washes ashore full of chia seeds on Oregon coast
Written by Patrick Schneider on December 23, 2020
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is cleaning up several bags of chia seeds that washed ashore near Florence and Newport this week.
Unusual commercial-sized bags of “sludge” were reported just north of Nye Beach the morning of Dec. 22. Later that day, another beachgoer discovered the likely source just north of Florence: a battered chunk of a shipping container and two bags of seeds nearby.
Although the seeds are not toxic, they do expand when they come into contact with water.
“The bags were too heavy to move by hand. We had to cut them up to remove them, or use equipment to haul them out,” said ranger Jason Hennessey.
At least four bags have sprouted ashore so far. OPRD is still tracking down information about the source. People can help the agency by reporting any additional bags — as well as any other beach debris to the Beach Debris hotline. For safety reasons, it’s best for individuals to avoid moving debris themselves.
This situation is a good reminder to all to pack out your own trash. Some beach access parking lots have cleanup bags, but it’s good practice to carry some from home.