Saturday, January 08, 2011

Chicken little may be wrong, it appears the sky isn't falling

There has been some buzz lately that the oceans are becoming covered in plastic. Some people have even claimed that there is a "Great Garbage Patch" twice the size of Texas between California and Japan.

Turns out this is false.

Oceanic 'garbage patch' not nearly as big as portrayed in media: researchers explains:

Further claims that the oceans are filled with more plastic than plankton, and that the patch has been growing tenfold each decade since the 1950s are equally misleading, pointed out Angelicque "Angel" White, an assistant professor of oceanography at Oregon State.

"There is no doubt that the amount of plastic in the world's oceans is troubling, but this kind of exaggeration undermines the credibility of scientists," White said. "We have data that allow us to make reasonable estimates; we don't need the hyperbole. Given the observed concentration of plastic in the North Pacific, it is simply inaccurate to state that plastic outweighs plankton, or that we have observed an exponential increase in plastic."

We have a problem. It is a problem worth working on. But it isn't an end of the world type of problem.

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