An Oregon State University scientist said reports that the Great Garbage Patch between California and Japan is twice the size of Texas are grossly exaggerated.
Angelicque White, an assistant professor of oceanography, also said claims that the oceans are filled with more plastic than plankton and that the patch has grown tenfold each decade since the 1950s are equally misleading.
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 in a news release. 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.
According to OSU in Corvallis, White participated in one of the few expeditions solely aimed at understanding the abundance of plastic debris and its impact on microbial communities. The expedition was funded by the National Science Foundation through C-MORE, the Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education.