Monday, December 14, 2009

ABC News: To Hell with the facts

The photo below accompanies an ABC News report on an upcoming solo Pacific swim:

A Sydney man is hoping to draw attention to the problems of global warming and plastic pollution by swimming between Japan and the US in a giant plastic bottle.

Richard Pain's swim will take him through what is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area of rubbish the size of Queensland floating in the ocean.


Placing the mouse pointer on the original photo produces an alternative caption:

The remains of a sea bird showing the plastic debris it had eaten.

Going by the photo the mid-Pacific is a filthy, deadly place indeed. But according to Wikipedia the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is not nearly so "photogenic":

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also described as the Eastern Garbage Patch or the Pacific Trash Vortex, is a gyre of marine litter in the central North Pacific Ocean located roughly between 135° to 155°W and 35° to 42°N and estimated to be twice the size of Texas. The patch is characterized by exceptionally high concentrations of suspended plastic and other debris that have been trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. Despite its size and density, the patch is not visible from satellite photography because it consists of very, very small pieces, almost invisible to the naked eye and most of its contents are suspended beneath the surface of the ocean.

Which is why ABC News has chosen to attach a photo that has absolutely nothing to do with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This isn't news, it's inexcusable environmental sensationalism from Australia's publicly funded national broadcaster.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The greens started to hype up this sensationalist nonsense about a garbage patch in the Pacific when the government was considering a ban on plastic bags. We asked them to provide us with evidence that this patch existed (ie, photos or a link to it on google earth since it should show up because it's allegedly so enormous) and they suddenly changed the story to it being invisible. Of course it is.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's too bad you guys are living in a pipe dream. There is plastic everywhere on this planet.. on your beaches, in your rivers and streams, in your playgrounds and schools... and it does not go away. I have been to the gyre, and do you know what, it is actually bigger than twice the size of Texas. Imagine that. This all happened on our "watch" the last 50 years. And it is growing. Go to any rivermouth after a big rain and see what you can find. It is not visible by satellite, because it breaks down by the sun. Breaking down does not mean biodegrading. It simply becomes smaller and smaller, and a perfect size for marine organisms to mistake for food. Welcome to the food chain.

Those of you that continue to put your head in the sand and believe this is a farce, are robbing anyone near you with your thoughts of being able to hope to provide a planet that is even half way sustainable for their kids.

Next time you go shopping, swallow your plastic bag.... and see what happens.... welcome to the ocean ecosytem's daily issues.

11:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is nothing false at all about these photos. It is natural for albatross to find food that is floating in the ocean, and then feed it to their young. When their young feel full, they have no need to want to eat anymore. They have no more nutrients, and they simply suffocate... on plastics. Try it yourself if you don't believe it.

11:49 PM  

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