We’ve heard about a giant patch of garbage supposedly floating out in the Pacific, yet another unmistakable sign of the scourge that man is to the planet. Read NatGeo here and The Independent here and NPR here, just to name a few.
It turns out that it’s all a huge exaggeration.
Caught red-handed again! Who can believe these media organizations any longer? Sadly this is routine procedure when reporting on climate change and evironment.
Wikipedia here calls it the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and describes it as the Pacific Trash Vortex, which is estimated to be an area the size of the state of Texas to one larger than the continental United States.
There’s just one problem, though. Wikipedia writes:
Despite its size and density, the patch is not visible from satellite photography.”
Hmmm. Well, there’s a good reason for that. One reason is likely because it’s a heck of a lot smaller than what we have been led to believe. Today Jürgen Schönstein has a piece at science blogs titled The garbage patch is smaller than feared. Schönstein writes that marine biologist Assistant Professor Angel White of Oregon State University has come to the conclusion that the size and growth of the patch is “grossly exaggerated by the media”:
The amount of plastic out there isn’t trivial. But using the highest concentrations ever reported by scientists produces a patch that is a small fraction of the state of Texas, not twice the size.”
You can read the Oregon State Univsersity press release here. Well, you might say, Texas is a big place and even a small fraction is a lot. The press release writes:
The studies have shown is that if you look at the actual area of the plastic itself, rather than the entire North Pacific subtropical gyre, the hypothetically “cohesive” plastic patch is actually less than 1 percent of the geographic size of Texas.”
Simple mathematics tells us that the media exaggerated the patch size by a factor of more than 200. I’m not saying there isn’t problem with marine pollution. It’s just nowhere near as bad as we are told, like many other things – climate to name one.
In the end, pick up your trash and dispose of it properly. Don’t litter! White says:
If there is a takeaway message, it’s that we should consider it good news that the ‘garbage patch’ doesn’t seem to be as bad as advertised,” White said, “but since it would be prohibitively costly to remove the plastic, we need to focus our efforts on preventing more trash from fouling our oceans in the first place.”
One final note: Have you ever compared the aftermath of a Tea Party demonstration to the aftermath of a save-the-planet type of demonstration in terms of garbage left behind? That pretty much tells you who the real big slobs are. The same can be pretty much said about their carbon footprints too, i.e. think Gore, Hollywood, UN bureaucrats, “climate scientists” and activists flying all over the globe and living high on the hog. LIKE HERE.