Thursday, July 10, 2014

Garbage-patch tale as flimsy as a single-use plastic bag

Wow.  Color me...not surprised.
Cózar's team didn't find country-size islands of plastic bags strangling baby birds and sea turtles. It found "micro plastics." What people think of as a dump doesn't look like floating junk. Instead, ocean current "convergence zones" are swirling with flecks of plastic - like a snow globe half a minute after shaking - and with considerably less plastic trash than expected.

Not that plastic in the ocean is a good thing, but it's looking to be less of a peril to the planet than once suggested.

As I read about the Cózar study, I could not help but think of state Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima (Los Angeles County), and his SB270, which would ban single-use plastic bags. San Francisco started the plastic bag ban craze in 2007. More than 100 cities in the state have followed, as bag ban proponents shopped two images - of bags in the ocean and of dead marine life.

The thing is, you don't find whole shopping bags in convergence zones. Peter Davison, an oceanographer with California's Farallon Institute for Advanced Ecosystem Research, told me he frequently has seen plastic bags littering harbors, but in the ocean, one is more likely to come across debris from a fishing fleet and bits of plastic from many sources.
This is just common sense.  Drive around the city and see how many loose plastic bags you see.  Two?  Three?  What you don't see are hundreds or even a hundred.

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