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View Diary: Plastic Island: Twice the Size of Texas & Growing (298 comments)

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  •  apparently (1+ / 0-)
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    satellite photos are of no use since its small pieces of plastic that arent' readily visibile in a photo.

    •  maybe, but that begs other questions... (0+ / 0-)

      ....plastic that is all huddled together in a giant mass twice the size of Texas would be seen in satellite photos (like most anything else plastic is light reflecting, so you'd see it in a satellite photo).  You can see people's plastic kid playsets in backyards using satellite imagery; it's on Google earth (and other such places).

      Then there is this question:  how is it that pieces of plastic stay huddled together?  Why is this garbage not dispersing, but rather staying as one massive blob?  Is there some kind of barrier around the garbage that is keeping the plastic pieces from drifting all over the planet?

      •  I did some checking and found out this... (0+ / 0-)

        ...the satellite images available to the public (google earth, etc.) do not include the open ocean.  Governments' satellite images of the area where the so-called Trash Island is located (if these images even exist) were unable to be obtained by me (using internet searches); also, others have said on the internet that these images are not available.  

        Then I found this from

        Originally Posted by chemkid  
        I have checked several imagery providers none of which seem to to provide imagery of the ocean where on may find a picture of this colossal floating garbage patch. I would quite like to be able to examine this phenomena.

        [Reply to chemkid from ttowntom]:  It's an urban myth, with a (very small) kernel of truth.

        There are two areas of the Pacific which tend to trap trash, due to the circulating currents (known as 'gyres', in particular). One is much larger than the size of Texas, in fact. However, thinking its a solid heap of trash and plastic waste is is in fact, to the normal eye, an average patch of ocean, with only a moderately higher chance of finding a piece of trash in it than anywhere else in the sea.

        That's why you'll never find pictures of any gigantic mound -- it doesn't exist.

        Then I began to read in detail one of the links provided by the diarist.  This quote from that link debunks the notion that the garbage patch is deep, let alone 300 feet deep (of course it's not 300 feet deep, because plastic floats), and it also debunks the misleading photos in the diary that indicate that the GPGP is a mass of plastic (the photos in this misleading diary, along with the text, would suggest that it is a mass of plastic bottles twice the size of Texas):

        In a 2001 study, researchers (including Moore) found that in certain areas of the patch, concentrations of plastic reached one million particles per square mile.

        So what we are talking about is not a floating heap of plastic, but rather higher than expected (and certainly higher than I would want) concentrations of photodegraded plastic (plastic particulates).  


        And to think this made the RecList.

        •  Thanks for sharing (0+ / 0-)

          The images were changed to appease complaining types like yourself.

          There is no separation between the images in the diary on the garbage in our oceans. If you don't see the connection, then you are not using enough critical thinking.

          You are of course, welcome to read or not read whatever you want. Most people enjoy my diaries. But you can't please all the people all the time.


          The best way to save the planet is to keep laughing.

          by LaughingPlanet on Sat Apr 11, 2009 at 09:50:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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