03/18/2014 07:09 EDT | Updated 05/18/2014 05:59 EDT

B.C. tsunami debris cleanup gets $270K Japanese funding

British Columbia is getting nearly a quarter of a million dollars of Japanese government funding to continue the cleanup of tsunami debris along Vancouver Island's west coast.

The $270,000 comes from a $1 million Japanese grant to the Canadian government after the 2011 tsunami devastated Japan, leaving 1.5 million tonnes of debris floating in the Pacific Ocean.

The funding will be used by the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup program for education on debris identification and disposal, transportation of volunteers and additional clean-up supplies and removal.

The program, led by the Vancouver Aquarium and World Wildlife Fund, has already identified more than 88 kilometres of shoreline for clean-up.

However, manager Jill Dwyer says amounts of debris have been low to date. 

"It comes towards us but then it diverges towards the north to Alaska and to the south towards Washington and Oregon — so I think they've seen a bit more than we have," she said.

"[That's] not to say that the debris couldn't reach our shorelines and hasn't — but we haven't seen it in the amounts originally predicted."

More than $646,000 has already been put towards cleaning up tsunami debris along the coast of B.C. 

In a statement released Tuesday, Minister of Environment Mary Polak said she's looking forward to the expanded efforts of the conservation program. 

"The gracious funding from the government of Japan has allowed us to provide resources to coastal communities, local governments, First Nations and volunteer organizations and I thank them for their generosity."

In 2013, more than 27,500 B.C. volunteers participated in cleanups at 880 shorelines.