October 17, 2019

Pacific Garbage Patch alarmists' alarmism

I'm not about to make excuses for the Pacific Garbage Patch being 600,000 square miles of garbage floating in the North Pacific.  It's something that should not be there.  But I do find it alarming that when you see videos about it or read stories about it, they are filled with alarmism.  Take for example the video below.

Let me preface it by pointing out the following. 600,000 square miles represents 0.94% of the surface area of the Pacific Ocean.  Now watch when they show the size of it in their graphics.  Yes, 600,000 square miles is more than twice the size of Texas, but if you put Texas in the Pacific ocean it is miniscule.  Watch how they depict it. 

It's alarmism from alarmists, designed to make you panic.  When you panic you are more likely to accept their radical solutions.

It's also worth pointing out where the garbage is predominantly coming from;
But specifically, scientists say, the bulk of the garbage patch trash comes from China and other Asian countries.

This shouldn't be a surprise: Overall, worldwide, most of the plastic trash in the ocean comes from Asia. In fact, the top six countries for ocean garbage are China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Thailand, according to a 2015 study in the journal Science.
China mostly.  The study goes on to say that the United States contributes "contributes as much as 242 million pounds of plastic trash to the ocean every year". REALLY?  That amounts to 121,000 tons per year.  Elsewhere in the article it says the patch is only 88,000 tons.

That math doesn't work.  There are serious flaws with this 'study' as well as the journalist(s) responsible for reporting it, who cannot check basic math.

Another fact. According to PBS the patch weighs 87,000 tons.  That's a lot.  Yes, it needs to be addressed.  No, it's not actually that much compared to the size of the Pacific Ocean. 87,000 tons over 600,000 square miles is 0.145 tons (or 290 pounds) per square mile of the patch. Imagine a 300 lb. man floating in a square mile of ocean.

Put another way, the Pacific Ocean represents 46% of the world's ocean surface.  Given that "The ocean accounts for 0.022 percent of the total weight of earth, weighing an estimated 1,450,000,000,000,000,000 short tons (1 short ton = 2,000lbs)", that means there are 667,000,000,000,000,000 short tons of water in the Pacific Ocean.  You know what percentage of the ocean that garbage patch represents?


Yes, we should not pollute the oceans. But should we panic?  Should we spend billions cleaning up what is mostly Asia's mess?  No.  We should demand that they stop.  And we should not feel so much guilt or blame ourselves.


  1. Ever noticed that it's really hard to find good pictures of the Garbage Patch? You'd think something this huge would have lots of aerial shots depicting its vastness... Nope.


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