Plastic in the oceans is probably a problem, but it is probably not the problem you think it is.
For one thing, it is not as big a problem as deforestation, and I am unhappy that we hear a lot more about the Pacific Garbage Patch than we hear about deforestation these days. For another thing, a lot of the anti-Garbage Patch rhetoric is going to blow up in our faces when it is discovered that you can’t even see the garbage patch. Seriously. If you could see it, there would be pictures of it somewhere in the video I provide below. All of the pictures of garbage floating around in this video are NOT of the Garbage Patch. Also, I know of no peer reviewed replicated research that clearly indicates that ingestion of plastic bits actually kills seabird chicks.
Finally, there is this boat … Plastiki. While it’s a great idea to demonstrate all of these technologies, it will be really disappointing (and funny, assuming everyone lives) if the boat goes down and becomes part of the Garbage Patch. Stunts can be good, and stunts can be bad, but stunts always attract attention. So it’s a risk.
Anyway, have a look at this video, and just keep in mind that there is a lot of rhetoric here that may be more harmful than helpful.
Hat Tip the Science Puntit