Talk:Great Pacific garbage patch/Archive1

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Split from North Pacific Gyre

I have split this article from North Pacific Gyre. See Talk:North Pacific Gyre for some discussion of this topic. -- Alan Liefting- (talk) - 22:53, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

I took a look at the discussion and I'm not clear why one small article was split into two smaller articles. Can you explain why the article was split? Thanks. —Viriditas | Talk 14:48, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, it does seem like this one feature of the gyre is covered disproportionately, and both articles still have strong potential for growth. Seems fine to me to keep them separate, especially since this one will have a number of redirects and links on the garbage issue in particular. Perhaps this will free up the gyre article for more coverage of the oceanographic aspects. -- Beland (talk) 17:22, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
You are the third person to argue that the articles should remain separate. But, I sill don't see why they were split. Yes, you have given me a good what if scenario, explaining what you think they should become, but I edit articles based on what is and I still don't understand why a short article was split into two shorter articles. The redirect issue is easily solved using inline section redirects. I admit that maybe I am not "getting it", but this does a disservice to the reader, forcing them to visit two pages instead of one to read about related content. I think the problem is that we have three editors taking a specialist POV, which is great when it is required, but in this case, we need a generalist approach. Ideally, the articles should be split when the size passes a certain threshold, and even then, summary style would be appropriate. The current split seems to go about the process backwards. Small, related topics are more accessible in one location, not two. —Viriditas | Talk 07:58, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

I agree with the above in that while their might be a reason to split the articles in the future, due to the small size of each currently, they should remain together so as to provide the reader with the full gambit of information rather than forcing them to visit both pages. An earlier poster argued that there is a disproportionate amount of information on the garbage aspect, but that doesn't mean that the garbage isnt the most important/prevalent issue and therefor should be included with the main article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:02, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

I disagree with the proposal to merge, as the gyre and garbage patch are distinct subjects, and so the two articles should remain seperate. While the gyre article may short, the garbage patch one is not so. There is definitely capacity for expansion in both, as they are well studied phenomenon — Jack (talk) 01:00, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
  • I agree that this article deserves an individual entry, but I will merge North Pacific Gyre to the main Gyre article, since it is suffucuenbtly succinct that it can accommodate the information. It seems to have split to allow this article to expand. Now that it is separate, we can merge back. Agreed? Eusebeus (talk) 16:52, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
    • I think this sounds quite reasonable. -AndrewBuck (talk) 22:13, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

When and how was the Garbage Patch discovered?

The article needs a section on "history of human understanding", and a documentation of any significant academic study or research into the Garbage Patch. — Jack (talk) 03:43, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

According to National Geographic, the Patch was discovered in 1997 by Captain Charles Moore while sailing his 50-foot catamaran. The article indicates that the Patch has been known for two decades, but this is counter to what Nat Geo reports. Therefore, since the information in the article didn't have a citation about the discovery of the Patch, and the mentioned timeframe is counter to a reliable source, I have added the info from Nat Geo, and removed the two decade point. --Bentonia School (talk) 15:07, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
In passing, I seem to remember the garbage patch, or something like it, being referenced in the 1992 novel Snow Crash. I'm not sure that I buy the 1997 date. I'll see if I can find anything on the Web of Knowledge. Cheers, --Plumbago (talk) 11:05, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
I couldn't find anything beyond the Moore et al. references which I now see are listed below. The Day (1988) government report cited below sounds promising, although I can't find an electronic copy of (it gets cited by Moore et al. though). That might put the 1997 date in context better if someone can find it. Cheers, --Plumbago (talk) 12:42, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

I seem to remember the garbage patch being mentioned in WWII memoirs. I'm trying to remember which. What I do remember is that the first time I saw it mentioned, the most visible garbage mentioned was glass fishing buoys used near Japan. These were anywhere from an inch or two wide to 2 feet in diameter and were wrapped in rope netting. They were used from 1910 to ????? (1939 - millions in use). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:02, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Photograph & Scientific Data

And yet, after all this time, and all these headlines there is not one single verifiable photograph of this alleged mass of waste that is twice the size of is this piece of folklore encyclopedia material? (talk) 11:13, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

You want a photo? So go there with a GOOD underwater camera, it's international waters. But this is not whole bottles or sneakers floating on the surface. It's small crumbs and chips drifting below the surface. But I think the article's assertion that taking a photo is "impossible" is too rash. It should be very hard, but possible if you have a bit of luck with the lighting.
Not according to this part of the article, it isn't:

The existence of the garbage patch received wider public and scientific attention after it was documented in several articles written by Charles Moore, a California-based sea captain and ocean researcher. Moore, returning home through the North Pacific Gyre after competing in the Transpac sailing race, came upon an enormous stretch of floating debris.

Is Moore lying or mistaken about this, or is there really "an enormous stretch of floating debris"?-- (talk) 16:09, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
Presumably lots. Of course, you have all sorts of traditional marine debris too. Floating underwater islets clustering around non-recaying ropes, fishernets and swimmers like so much seaweed. A long stretch of floating garbage is also what you see if a ship unscrupulously dumps its domestic waste overboard. Inside the gyre, stuff from all over the Pac collects, and the frequency and size of local concentrations of relatively undecayed stuff grows. Like, say, three football fields that look like a huge cargoliner or 5 full of assorted plastic debris went down. That is certainly large by human standards. But as such, the patch is large by Earth standards. The average concentration is low and the average mass of individual particles is low. So you're driving right through it, but on such a drive you have good odds to coma across a locale where the soup is thicker and more chunky.
Don't be expecting to get stuck in sme trashfield like ships in those old fancy drawings of the Sargasso Sea (which is basically the Atlantic little brother. Seaweed is thicker there, because coasts and the nutrient-rich Caribbean are close by, so the Sargasso Sea has always been naturally fertile and warmer). Dysmorodrepanis (talk) 20:37, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
And if you have ever traveled across this part of the world, you'd know that it is not exactly trivial to get there in the first place. There is nothing of interest in this region except for marine biologists and geoscientists. Just a large expanse of ocean, devoid of land (which is the main reason this phenomenon exists in the first place). It's too far off the beaten track even for fishermen, and the climate is technically too damn close to a freakin' desert (see Horse latitudes) for any sane person's comfort. Dysmorodrepanis (talk) 22:50, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I think that the anon might be expecting a satellite photograph of it. Depending upon the abundance of waste items and their position in the water column (one presumes they float), I guess that they could change the appearance of the sea from space. Any ideas? --Plumbago (talk) 12:46, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
I am doubtful that satellite imagery would convey much. As the well-informed Dysmorodrepanis notes, this is a wide area of loosely suspended debris. I contacted the photographer of the image that you find typically associated with this (check Google Images and you'll see it), but on closer inspection, I am skeptical that the image is actually of the patch itself (i.e. just some garbage in the water). A final point, per my cleanup notes below, some work needs to be done on this article to make it more than "this piece of folklore" as described above. I was surprised how slight the scholarly literature appears to be. Eusebeus (talk) 13:31, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
I agree about the literature, although the Day (1988) reference that you found below would be interesting to see. Certainly, while it's pretty difficult to pick keywords that pull up anything on the "garbage patch", there seems to be a small quantity of work going on these days on waste plastics. My guess is that a real phenomenon ("trapping" of floating plastic waste in ocean gyres) has been massively hyped up by a positive feedback loop of media attention, till we get to fairly ridiculous statements suggesting that there's a plastic Texas floating out there. If I find any references that you haven't already tracked down, I'll add them here. It'd be nice to clear this one up, one way or the other. Not least because the ridiculousness of some of the statements about the patch has been picked up by bloggers, etc., looking for a stick to beat potentially genuine environmental concerns. Cheers, --Plumbago (talk) 13:59, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Hi Plumbago, do you have access to Science Direct? If you do, this article offers some great hard numbers. Meanwhile, I'd like to check the accuracy of the "discovery" of the Garbage Patch, since this has been in the Scientific literature since the 1980s. In the event you don't have a subscription, the hard data are:

A total of 27 698 small pieces of plastic weighing 424 g were collected from the surface water at stations in the gyre, yielding a mean abundance of 3 34 271 pieces km2 and a mean mass of 5114 g/km2. Abundance ranged from 31 982 pieces km2 to 969 777 pieces/km2, and mass ranged from 64 to 30 169 g km2. Plastic fragments accounted for the majority of the material collected in the smaller size categories. Thin plastic films, such as those used in sandwich bags, accounted for half of the abundance in the second largest size category, and pieces of line (polypropylene and monofilament) comprised the greatest fraction of the material collected in the largest size category.

More as I find it.

Here's the link to Day 1988.

Day postulated the existence of the patch

After entering the ocean, however, neuston plastic is redistributed by currents and winds. For example, plastic entering the ocean in Japan is moved eastward by the Subarctic Current (in Subarctic Water) and the Kuroshio (in Transitional Water, Kawai 1972; Favorite et al. 1976; Nagata et al. 1986). In this way, the plastic is transported from high-density areas to low-density areas. In addition to this eastward movement, Ekman stress from winds tends to move surface waters from the subarctic and the subtropics toward the Transitional Water mass as a whole (see Roden 1970: fig. 5). Because of the convergent nature of this Ekman flow, densities tend to be high in Transitional Water. In addition, the generally convergent nature of water in the North Pacific Central Gyre (Masuzawa 1972) should result in high densities there also. (Day, 1988, 261)

Eusebeus (talk) 14:29, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Nice work Eusebeus! And well done finding the report. It now seems more clear. I'll try to help you edit the article into shape next week (assuming you've not finished by then!). Incidentally, I do have Science Direct access, but I'm currently away from it - back next week. Cheers, --Plumbago (talk) 15:57, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, still think it would be useful to have at least a link to an actual picture of floating garbage. These ocean flow charts really don't mean much to skeptics, nor do random close-up pictures of garbage or dead animals on beaches somewhere. Even some of the links showing garbage brought up onto boats show pristine, deep blue oceans. Jd147703 (talk) 14:10, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
I am still in the process of rewriting this, but as you will see from the text, it would be a mistake to think of this as a largely visible see of plastic waste, the Moore description notwithstanding. See Plumbago's percipient comment above. I think we don't need to feed a misperception by including a false or misleading image. The EGP is what it is - a large concentration of photosynthesizing plastic debris concentrated in the upper water column. It is not a generally visible debris field. However, that said, I'll see what kinds of images can be obtained. Eusebeus (talk) 16:27, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for that - that clears things up. Every media report I'd seen and the article here itself seemed to allude to a visible, "unpassable" mass. Any visuals we could get would be useful, though. Jd147703 (talk) 16:10, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

Cleanup Discussion Section

From Eusebeus (talk)

Random research notes:

  1. The origins of this seem to be the 2003 Nat Hist. article. The term was coined by Curtis Ebbesmeyer according to that article and it's size is his estimate. UPDATE: change to Day postulate from 88. Size provided with la & lo references. (CITE)
  3. A quick review of the scientific literature suggests this is more commonly known as the Eastern Garbage Patch. We should perhaps move the article to that (current rd) page.
  4. Some cribbed refs of some potential value:
    1. Day, R.H., 1988. Quantitative distribution and characteristics of neustonic plastic in the North Pacific Ocean. Final Report to US Department of Commerce, National Marine Fisheries Service, Auke Bay Laboratory. Auke Bay, AK, 73 pp.
    2. Derraik, J.G.B., The pollution of the marine environment by plastic debris: a review. 2002, Marine Pollution Bulletin 44:842-852
    3. Assessing and Monitoring Floatable Debris, EPA-842-B-02-002, August 2002 Oceans and Coastal Protection Division (4504T) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC 20460
    4. Andrady, T.L., Plastics in Marine Environment, 2005 In: Proceedings of the Plastic Debris Rivers to Sea Conference, 2005
    5. Thompson, Richard C., et al, Lost at Sea: Where Is All the Plastic?, Science, Vol. 304, 2004, 843
    6. Moore, C.J., S.L. Moore, M. K. Leecaster, and S.B. Weisberg. 2001. A comparison of plastic and plankton in the North Pacific central gyre. Marine Pollution Bulletin 42:1297-1300.
    7. Moore, C.J., S.L. Moore, S.B. Weisberg, G. Lattin and A. Zellers. 2002. A comparison of neustonic plastic and zooplankton abundance in southern California’s coastal waters. Marine Pollution Bulletin 44:1035-1038.

The section on wildlife impact is only partially accurate and needs major reworking. Expand source beyond Moore. Original:
The floating particles also resemble zooplankton, which can lead to them being consumed by jellyfish, thus entering the ocean food chain.[1] In samples taken from the gyre in 2001, the mass of plastic exceeded that of zooplankton (the dominant animal life in the area) by a factor of seven. Many of these long-lasting pieces end up in the stomachs of marine birds and animals,[2] including sea turtles, and Black-footed Albatross.[1] Besides ingestion and entanglement of wildlife, the floating debris absorbs toxins in the water which, when ingested, are mistaken by the animal brain for estradiol, causing hormone disruption in the affected wildlife.[1]

  • quick note. I have to hop off for a bit - it really needs a etymology (definition) section as there seems to be some argument about names and what it is exactly. Who named it and when for instance. This should be somewhere at the top of the article. I am sure some of our resident seabird experts will help with the wildlife impact. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 21:13, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

headings and subheadings

OK, i have reorganized this - thus we have a definition section, a section on genesis, then one on sequelae ec. It then needs one on govt legislation/general acceptance etc. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 01:16, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

What do you think of Moore's guesstimates as to the origins of the waste? Sounds to me pretty made-up - I'd like to see some real evidence that this is the case. Eusebeus (talk) 02:19, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
True - alot of science is based on speculation and I am all for the discussion of this in articles. I am much more in favour of an article mapping out what is known, not known and what is speculation. I grew tired of books for laypeople on various scientific topics presenting speculation as fact. If a person is a significant party to a particular theory or article, and they have an opinion which may be more speculative and/or not universally accepted, I am more than happy for their thory to be included as long as it is explained that it is their theory and on what basis or evidence it is based. Agree I would really like to see how he came up with the estimate and feel this would be highly desirable if not essential to be included. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 04:18, 20 July 2008 (UTC)


There are citations noted in the text, but the citations don't lead to any sort of list of sources or bibliography -- in other words, what's here is backed up by footnote numbers that don't lead to footnotes. This needs to be fixed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:13, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

  • Given the presence of footnotes and referecens in this article, I am at a loss to explain this complaint. Did you try scrolling toward the bottom of the page, or clicking on the footnote number to access the relevant reference? Anyway, this article is adequately sourced for the information that, at present, it provides. Eusebeus (talk) 19:11, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Where are the satellite map pictures?

A recent comment here that was deleted as "vandalism" asked a valid questions: why are there not satellite images of this thing?

I do not have any answer to that question. One would imagine that it would show up at least as a colour shift in the ocean.

(The poster actually asked for it on google earth. The reason it does not appear there, is simply that google earth hardly has any pictures at all of the sea. However, it could appear on other satellite or air pictures.) Mlewan (talk) 05:01, 12 October 2008 (UTC)


An Explanation from Eusebeus

As attentive readers will observe, the "garbage patch" is defined as a very high concentration of pelagic plastics in the upper part of the water column. I appreciate that at first reading, it seems as if this means a huge debris field floating around this remote corner of the Pacific. Instead, it refers to an area where there is unusually high concentration of plastic particulate. Since plastics break down to ever smaller polymers, this means that such concentrated particulate matter will not be visible from space, nor show up as a continuous debris field. Eusebeus (talk) 16:04, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

If there are three pieces per square meter and they weigh an average of 2 milligrams each (or is it 5?) they are going to be nearly invisible even close up. It is only when you multiply by the area of the patch you get thousands of tonnes of plastic. --Rumping (talk) 02:11, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
For anyone who is confused, consider this analogy: there are hundreds of thousands of asteroids between Mars and Jupiter, but most people would find it difficult to spot any without an expensive telescope. Likewise, you can't just look at Google Earth and dismiss this as a trumped up hoax.Nemokara (talk) 00:59, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

What centripetal tendency?

  • "As material circulates in the current, the centripetal tendency gradually moves floating debris toward the center, trapping it in the circumscribed oceanic region."[1]

Well that's a non-explanation. I've never heard of "the centripetal tendency", so I clicked on it expecting to be taken to a definition of some physical mechanism in oceanic currents that draws surface water inward. Instead it links to Centripetal force, which is unhelpful and probably inappropriate. Melchoir (talk) 01:42, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

...sentence deleted. Melchoir (talk) 00:07, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Makes material collect toward a center, as explained in the link. I will restore the sentence. Eusebeus (talk) 03:53, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Are you saying that the centripetal force explains why debris accumulates in the center? Melchoir (talk) 04:40, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Oceanic gyre#Subtropical gyres points to wind patterns... Melchoir (talk) 05:22, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Eh. I'll just say as much and leave the details to someone else. Melchoir (talk) 01:45, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Recent updates —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:37, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

google earth

is there an image or coordinates for a satellite image of the garbage?

The plastic is broken down in to small sand size pieces, so you can't really see them, especially from a satellite. (talk) 16:48, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

A Plan of Attack ?

I would like to see the addition of some possible solutions

I think it would be possible to refit a Cargo ship with a conveyor
system that skims the surface of the ocean pulling the plastic soup on
to sorting belts where sea life can be diverted back to the sea and
sort out the recyclables. these belts then lead to compactors that
form the trash into blocks that can be loaded into Cargo containers.
that later get off loaded at a friendly port where the recyclables
will be shipped to the appropriate facility and the non recyclable is
sent where it can be dealt with properly. I would like to make the
plan of attack a separate Wiki articular but I do not know how to
create one. if someone can help me start the page I have been
thinking hard on this and have lots of ideas to share on the subjuct.

We share the details of the problems lets share our way to the solution
John Kuczwara I may not be able to it alone but I will do everything I can. —Preceding unsigned comment added by User:JWKTrucker (talkcontribs)

Hi JWKTrucker. Until the plan you outline above becomes reality, or is described in reliable sources, I'm afraid that this isn't the place for it. Sorry. --PLUMBAGO 14:26, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

Redirecting from "The plastic continent"?

A lot of people identify this by "The Plastic Continent" or "Plastic Continent" so it might be pertinent to redirect those who search for that to this page. I'm not the most experienced editor so I don't know how to do that. If someone else either tell me or do themselves that would probably help a lot of people. Thanks. Zax11029 (talk) 05:47, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

"Plastic continent" is definitely a misnomer, but I don't see many results for this phrase in Google News. [2] Dynablaster (talk) 13:11, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

Clarifying the article

As there is no visible 'garbage patch', isn't it better to make this explicit? Is there a reputable alternative name for this and similar regions?

I would also say the photo of the 'Laysan Albatros' is misleading, as it can easily be inferred to be part of the 'garbage patch', when it is not. Suggestion: delete the picture.

(TresRoque (talk) 18:42, 19 June 2009 (UTC))

The introduction is hyperbole. An 'exceptionally' high level of plastic, which amounts to an average of three 5-milligram sized pieces of plastic per square metre. No doubt that is troublesome and ecologically damaging, but the introduction gives a non-scientific reader the impression of something thousands of times more severe. May I put the '3 x 5 milligram' fact into the introduction? (Kipwatson (talk) 01:13, 9 August 2009 (UTC)).

It is also 20 times the normal density. That to me qualifies as 'exceptional'. But yes, it never hurts to be precise. MickMacNee (talk) 01:45, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Size and existence

It seems that the estimation of size as double Texas is dubious. Even the existence of the patch seems to come from articles that quote only Charles Moore. I am seeing references quoting lots of newspapers that all quote Moore. I am not biased. Personally, I think this thing probably exists, and is the size Moore estimates. I am just having trouble with the claims vs. the quantity of independent, corroborating sources.--Anna Frodesiak (talk) 01:49, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

I agree with you that on this topic there is an excessive reliance on Moore, who is a one man band for promoting awareness of the patch. (But note that the Wikipedia article was probably the first public site to make the correct attribution to Day 1988.)
However, if you note the references I have adduced above you will see that the claims made have been published in leading peer-reviewed journals, and so well-above the threshold for reliable sourcing. One other point: the size of the patch is rather arbitrary. What is the cut-off for elevated levels of plastic in the neuston? As you will see in my discussion with Plumbago, the range is enormous. Moreover, the idea that there is a continuous field of pelagic debris is also inaccurate; the area affected is determined by sampling, but that provides an average and doesn't mean that the debris is distributed evenly across the gyre. Eusebeus (talk) 12:53, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Fair enough. Sorry that I wasn't more thorough in fact checking before I commented. There still remains the great need for someone to actually get a photo. The article could sure use it. I think readers kind of see it as a Loch Ness Garbage Patch. I'll keep digging for info on this one. Heck, maybe some fishing vessel has reported it and it never made it to the press. Cheers.--Anna Frodesiak (talk) 14:00, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
As I have noted above but don't mind repeating, the issue of providing a photographic accompaniment is questionable. The problem here is really Ebbermeyer's poor choice of wording. A "garbage patch" implies something that can be seen. However, it refers to an unusually high level of suspended plastic particulate in the upper reaches of the water column. This is not going to be visible in any meaningful way, just as, say high levels of arsenic would not be visible. Some of the plastics are large, but the highly concentrated levels of particulate are principally derived from photodegraded plastics that are too small to be seen. So instead of thinking of it as a garbage patch, it should be conceived of as a contaminated area. Eusebeus (talk) 14:37, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
If you'd like to see some video evidence, (a subsidiary of Vice magazine) put out a documentary a while ago: Toxic Garbage Island ( That link leads to part 1 of 3; parts 2 and 3 are linked on the page. (Apparently is a blacklisted site, so I couldn't link it directly.) — Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 15:02, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

A trip to the patch?

I found this.

Circa June 10, 2009. A group of scientists and conservationists are planning a two-month trip to examine the gyre. Jim Dufour, of the Scripps Institution of Oceangraphy is advising the trip. [3]

I am not quite clear on it. This is Moore and a bunch of scientists. There are several articles about this mostly talking about fish and how thrilling it is to pass the date line. I don't see much about the GPGP apart from phrases from old info.

The trip apparently has ended at their destination at the north end of the Hawaiian islands. I thought the GPGP was to the south. What gives?--Anna Frodesiak (talk) 14:25, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

[4] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:54, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

The date line runs north/south and is unrelated to the equator. Recent GPGP surveys have all been either ~1000 miles west of California or to the northwest of Hawaii.
Charles Moore's site has these maps of voyage routes along with pop-up descriptions as you click on the sailboats. You'll see plastic findings all over the place. Day 39 of the 2009 trip is very cool. See day 14-15 of 2008 which mentions a "a visible river of trash floating in the ocean."
The Ocean Voyages Institute and project kaisei have their voyage tracker here (Google Earth plugin needed) plus this page has a picture that shows two blobs. They are labeled "Approximate areas of rubbish ????" (I can't make out the last word.)
Here's some OR for you - If you look at File:North_Pacific_Gyre.png there's a green swirl centered at roughly 34.27,-139.50 and is ~1010 miles due west of Oxnard, California and is just south of the general target area for the recent project kaisei trip. --Marc Kupper|talk 02:08, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
I was cleaning up some browser sessions and found this which has an animation of both GPGP . --Marc Kupper|talk 04:12, 8 September 2009 (UTC)


Could someone with an SVG editor fix File:Currents.svg The words "current" in the bottom right key have been truncated. -- SGBailey (talk) 08:33, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Retitling section heading

I propose we retitle the section "Density of neustonic plastics" to something that avoids the use of the word "neustonic." Rationale:

  • Wikipedia is for ordinary readers who may or may not have a scientific background.
  • Neustonic is an esoteric word, and is neither used nor defined/clarified within the body of the section itself.
  • I attempted to look up nuestonic on Wiktionary yesterday and found the word is not in the Wiktionary dictionary.

If you look at the edit history yesterday (2010-02-09), you will find that, for a short time, the section word "neustonic" was modified to "Neuston|neustonic". By clicking to the Neuston article, only after studying the edit history and finding the root word, I learned what neustonic means. But this would not help the vast majority of readers who come to Wikipedia with only a vernacular understanding of the English language, nor a user of mobile Wikipedia ( on a smartphone (smallscreen) device where only section headings are shown until/unless the reader chooses to expand the section. N2e (talk) 11:28, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Note to Eusebeus: let's discuss the article in this Talk item, not the editor. N2e (talk)

  • I am objecting to content changes that are done by feel and not based on an informed approach; to paraphrase Yeats, how can we separate the editor from the edits. To the substance of your point:
    1. As you can see from the discussion above, this article has been revamped and is currently one of the best sources of general information on this phenomenon on the web. It is extensively sourced from the scientific literature. There is little doubt that media reports about the GPGP use this article to derive a fundamental overview and links to relevant, peer-reviewed studies. If your point spoke to a deliberate obfuscation of the content, then I would be sympathetic. But that the article reflects the language of that literature is both understandable and reasonable.
    1. More importantly, did you even read the article? How could you be so confused about neustonic plastic given the text that immediately precedes it?

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch has one of the highest levels known of plastic particulate suspended in the upper water column. As a result, it is one of several oceanic regions where researchers have studied the effects and impact of plastic photodegradation in the neustonic layer of water.[3]

Unlike debris which biodegrades, the photodegraded plastic disintegrates into ever smaller pieces while remaining a polymer. This process continues down to the molecular level. As the plastic flotsam photodegrades into smaller and smaller pieces, it concentrates in the upper water column. As it disintegrates, the plastic ultimately becomes small enough to be ingested by aquatic organisms which reside near the ocean's surface. Plastic waste thus enters the food chain through its concentration in the neuston.
I can only presume that you did not bother to read the preceding paragraph, since it makes the point very clearly that it is the accumulation of plastic particles in the Neuston that poses a threat, given the position of these organisms to the food chain. As indicated elsewhere in the article, plastic debris in lower parts of the water column are largely discarded filament from fishing nets and thus do not serve the same risk as neustonic plastic which is easily ingested by the organisms in the upper water column.
  • So, my view is that this represents a needless dumbing down of an article that is currently informative and well sourced, that reflects the state of the literature and provides the necessary links (in this case to Neuston) where it first occurs in the article. Finally, if Neuston is not in Wiktionary, be bold and add it. It is in every major dictionary, as well as on Wikipedia, so that's simply ridiculous.
  • I must be missing something, because I find your comment incomprehensible based on the content of the article generally. Finally, let me note that the Neuston is not the same as the upper water column - that is the point - it photodegrades to become part of the ecology of the Neuston. And that is precisely why it is so troubling to scientists, since this is how it ends up entering the food chain. Eusebeus (talk) 12:05, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
Wow. Not sure where to start. That's a lot of words in response to a fairly simple proposal, and one brought to the Talk page precisely to see what other editors thought about the idea.
Bottom line, I don't have dog in this fight. I made a proposal to do a small thing that, I think, would make the article better. To date, one editor believes no better section title is possible. What do other editors who care about this article think? If there is no consensus to remove the esoteric term presently in the section heading, that's fine by me. That's what proposals are for. N2e (talk) 18:40, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
Rephrase it. My initial guess was that "neustonic plastics" were a class of plastics. Simply calling the section "Density of plastics" is sufficient. The first paragraph of the section can clarify that we're talking about the upper layer, and you can use the term "neustonic" as much as you please, preferably with the first instance of the term given a brief explanation. — Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 22:35, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

NA Gyre

Look like scientist have now found one in the North Atlantic, news source Gnangarra 04:19, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

  1. ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference mindfully was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Moore, Charles (November 2003). "Across the Pacific Ocean, plastics, plastics, everywhere". Natural History Magazine. 
  3. ^ Thompson, Richard C. (2004-05-07). "Lost at Sea: Where Is All the Plastic?,". Science. 304 (5672): 843. doi:10.1126/science.1094559. Retrieved 2008-07-19.  line feed character in |periodical= at position 11 (help); line feed character in |title= at position 14 (help); More than one of |periodical= and |journal= specified (help)