Plastic Bermuda Triange

by Zoe Pollock

The graveyard for plastic bags in the Pacific which may the "size of Texas to the size of the United States" is pretty well popularized. It's lesser known equivalent in the Atlantic ocean seems to be getting smaller does not appear to be getting any bigger, despite all evidence that should point to the contrary:

The amount of plastic produced around the world increased fivefold between 1976 and 2008, and the amount thrown away by Americans went up fourfold between 1980 and 2008. It is a reasonable assumption that, as the amount of discarded plastic increases, so will the problem of oceanic pollution. Reasonable but, as it turns out, wrong. For a 22-year-long study of the North Atlantic and the Caribbean, just published in Science, suggests things are not getting worse. Kara Law from the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and her colleagues have found that between 1986 and 2008 there was no increase in the concentration of plastic in the areas they looked at.

(Updated 8/31/10 thanks to a reader who pointed out how my sloppy speed-reading had mixed up most of the facts.)

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

You don't have to tell her how big she is. You don't need to touch her belly.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

You don't have to tell her how big she is. You don't need to touch her belly.

Video

Maine's Underground Street Art

"Graffiti is the farthest thing from anarchy."

Video

The Joy of Running in a Beautiful Place

A love letter to California's Marin Headlands

Video

'I Didn't Even Know What I Was Going Through'

A 17-year-old describes his struggles with depression.

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Just In