Talk:Marine debris

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Former good article nominee Marine debris was a Natural sciences good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
June 21, 2008 Good article nominee Not listed
August 18, 2008 Good article nominee Not listed
Current status: Former good article nominee


Great Pacific Garbage Patch[edit]

Why is there nothing on this page about the trash vortex, called the "Eastern Garbage Patch" or similar names? It is basically a floating island of flotsam. A Shangri-la of garbage, if you will. Here is a greenpeace article about it.[1] No picture of the mass itself, though. Fuzzform 18:30, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

See Great Pacific Garbage Patch - 82.18.44.72 (talk) 19:13, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Merge proposals[edit]

Flotsam and jetsam: essentially the exact same thing as marine debris? There shouldn't be two articles on the same thing - 82.18.44.72 (talk) 19:13, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Actually, I can't see why anyone would object, so I'll be bold and do it now - 82.18.44.72 (talk) 19:15, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

I also merged the ocean dumping stub along with F&J. How about we merge nurdle too? I'll leave this one up to the community, as the term may also have other uses. - 82.18.44.72 (talk) 04:03, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Cancel that, the article could be expanded, as there is clearly an industrial use for them - 82.18.44.72 (talk) 03:57, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

A couple suggestions[edit]

  • The following paragraphs are completely unreferenced: first under study (this also needs clarification), first under Legality of ocean dumping, last paragraph in article. Also, the "Source of debris" section is unreferenced.
  • Also, you might want to expand the bulleted lists under "Legality of ocean dumping" into prose. delldot talk 01:36, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

GA Failure[edit]

This article has the makings of GA or FA on an interesting and overlooked subject, but it's not there yet. There are just too many problems to fix.

  • Prose problems: It starts with the lede: "Marine debris, also known as marine litter, is human-created waste that has found itself floating in a lake, sea, ocean or waterway." Found itself? It's sentient? Later on, we read that "plastic comprises over 80% of all known debris ..." This is the wrong usage, and an all-too-common Wikipedia error. Near the end "Entire ships have been deliberately sunk in various attempts to do just that." Awkward, and too colloquial to be encyclopedic. And as a whole too many of the paragraphs within the article feel like they were just put together indiscriminately, as various editors added things and just left it at that. There's little narrative flow.
  • Sourcing: "An example of this would be the 1987 Syringe Tide, whereby medical wastes washed ashore in New Jersey, after having blown from the Fresh Kills Landfill." " Clean-up teams around the world patrol beaches to clean up this environmental threat." Both completely uncited, absolutely unforgivable when we're referring to a specific event as in the former. " It has also been suggested that persistent organic pollutants may be collecting and magnifying on the surface of plastic debris, adsorbing permanently to its surface and making oceanic plastic debris far more deadly that it would be on land." By who? These have been tagged appropriately. Also, that bit about California's proposed legislation is sourced to an advoacy group's page. A little searching should find a more neutral source.
  • Illustration: The pictures are mostly pertinent but there are some issues. I have lots of issues with the lead image. First, the picture has a huge cutline detailing everything found in that cleanup effort which goes on for several lines. Most of that information is rather trivial (and also see WP:NOT#STAT) and, if it belongs anywhere it belongs in the text. Cutlines should be short and sweet. If you go to three lines you need to have a good reason; there is no reason any cutline should be more than four lines long. Certainly it shouldn't nearly double the height of the image.

    And secondly, the very next image would be a far better one to use, as it actually shows the sea and some debris that presumably washed up from it.

    This leads to the one image that should go ... the no-dumping one from that lovely seacoast town of Colorado Springs, Colorado. This article is about marine debris. That means we're talking about debris in the oceans, not in streams over a thousand miles from the nearest seacoast.

I have problems with this article as even a B-class. It's a perfect example of why C-class was needed, and I will appopriately downgrade the assessment as well as adding another relevant project. Daniel Case (talk) 19:55, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

Relating to marine pollution[edit]

It seems to me that this article is closely related to marine pollution, and should be developed in tandem with that article. I have transferred some examples of marine toxins from Wild fisheries#Toxins, but "marine pollution" still needs work. I also wonder whether plastic waste is shaping up as the most serious marine pollutant of all, and whether it warrants an article of it's own? --Geronimo20 (talk) 11:04, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

I do agree that marine debris is definitely a form of marine pollution. However, I strongly oppose merging the articles, as the debris article a well-developed discussion (unlike pollution) of a well documented and clearly notable topic. There should be a section in marine pollution that briefly discusses debris, along with a link to this article, where it can be discussed in depth. Anxietycello (talk) 21:20, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I wasn't suggesting that we merge them – just that they are closely related, and each should be developed with an eye on the other. --Geronimo20 (talk) 09:33, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Marine debris/GA2. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

This is quite close to GA standard I think, but there a few issues that need to be addressed:

  • What is the relevance of a sign warning not to pollute a stream in Colorado Springs to an article dealing with marine debris?
  • "Currently, the California State Legislature is considering a host of bills ...". Currently as at when? 2008?
  • "Lost, mislaid, and abandoned property can be of consequence within property law, admiralty law, and the law of the sea." I don't understand what "of consequence" means in this context.
  • "... whereas some reckon it closer to the size of Africa." Who are these "some"?
  • "Should any islands be unlucky enough to lie within a gyre ...". I think the "unlucky" bit should be dropped as expressing a pov.
  • "... their coastlines will likely be ruined by the waste that inevitably washes ashore." Likely needs a citation.
  • "Clean-up teams around the world patrol beaches to clean up this environmental threat." Not sure what environmental threat this is talking about, as the preceding sentences were talking specifically about islands within oceanic gyres.
  • "More recently, reports have surfaced ...". Reports don't "surface". What are these reports? From whom?
  • The Weisman book is cited three times, but no page numbers are given.
  • "Law of Europe" and "Law of the United States" seems unnecessarily awkward names for sections. Why not "European law", and "United States law"?
  • "Eighty percent of all known debris is plastic – a component that has been rapidly accumulating since the end of World War II.[3] Plastics accumulate because they don't biodegrade as many other substances do; although they will photodegrade on exposure to sunlight, they do so only under dry conditions, as water inhibits this process." I have a number of problems with this paragraph. What does "known debris" mean? Is there some unknown debris? Accumulating where? And this seems tautological: "they do so only under dry conditions, as water inhibits this process". Water inhibits the process of being dry?
  • The first paragraph of types of debris is unreferenced. Which isn't a problem in itself, but this statement does need to be sourced: "Six pack rings, in particular, are considered a poster child of the damage that garbage can do to the marine environment." Who says so?
  • Ref #27 has gone dead.
  • "Marine debris ... is human-created waste ... Some forms of marine debris, such as driftwood, occur naturally". How is this, from the lead, to be reconciled? Not really a great opener.

I'm putting this article on hold to allow time for these issues to be addressed. I will check back in no less than seven days.

--Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 22:06, 10 August 2008 (UTC)


  • As these issues remain outstanding, this article has not been listed as a GA. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 19:41, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Possible Vandalism[edit]

Recent edit by 91.69.154.123 is possibly vandalism, as it appears to reverse the meaning of the introductory paragraphs using hideous grammar. I haven't reversed it because I don't know the history on this, I could be mistaken. --98.196.62.134 (talk) 20:20, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

Plastic particle water pollution[edit]

The article Plastic particle water pollution has some overlap with this article; perhaps the contents of that article should be merged into this one? (It contains information on microplastics, aka nurdles, that perhaps should be put into the parent article if not already there, rather than simply added here.) -- John Broughton (♫♫) 02:05, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

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Cleanup of ocean plastics[edit]

According to a report by Jan Andries van Franeker, industrial plastic decreases by 75% in just 2 years. This study was done in the north sea, which has quite cool water. Appearantly (according to David Barnes, in hotter water, plastic would break down even faster (read http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/08/090820-plastic-decomposes-oceans-seas.html )

Due to this, I'm doubting the benefit of installations intended to collect macroplastics (like those of The Ocean Cleanup ). Would it not be more efficient to create an installation that is able to burn the microplastics instead ?

One other thing: I'm wondering whether we ourselves aren't all ready cleaning up these microplastics all ready ? From what I read, microscopic organisms consume it, but they can't digest it as their stomach acids aren't powerful enough probably. Larger organisms (large fish like sharks, wales, ...) probably have stronger stomach acids and can digest (or well break it down completely) it. The same goes for humans, and some other land animals like bears, monkeys, crocodiles, ... As such, I tend to think that by buying for (and eating) the fish caught from our seas, we probably all ready clean up our plastic waste, all though we do poison ourselves a bit in the process.

KVDP (talk) 16:07, 28 May 2016 (UTC)

Some Suggestions[edit]

  • I think there should be more information on the laws and treaties section. The Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act could be added to the United States Law section.
  • Both source 44 and 45 is now a dead link. --Zhc070 (talk) 04:45, 4 November 2016 (UTC)

Definitions and scope[edit]

I'm not sure what these terms mean:

  • land-based debris
  • ocean-based debris

Both are in the ocean, right? I'm guessing "land-based" means the debris came from the land, floating away from the seashore. Ocean-based could mean dropped from a ship?

Also, what about military debris: is it floating, or at the bottom? I think we should make clear in the article that not all "debris" which has polluted the world's oceans is a hazard to birds swimming on the surface - or even visible to people in boats.

Lastly, we ought to distinguish between big pieces on the surface - like bottles or six-pack rings - and the tiny plastic particles distributed - not to say dissolved through many layers of water.

When we throw around terms like Great Pacific garbage patch we give the impression of a marine junkyard with acres of easily-seen debris. If we really mean that millions of square miles of ocean have 4 particles per cubic meter of suspended plastic in them, undetectable by satellite photography, or even by casual boaters or divers, then maybe the three "garbage patch" article should be merged here. --Uncle Ed (talk) 15:51, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

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Critiques/suggestions[edit]

-For the most part, references seem to be appropriate and reliable, but many of them are from News Sources (ie: CNN, BBC, NYTimes, Daily Mail) and Magazine Articles (ie: National Geographic, The Environmental Magazine), which have a tendency to not be as informative as more primary sources, which are also referenced on this page. There are also referenced from good sources like the Ocean Science Journal and various research institutions. After checking multiple articles, there didn't appear to be plagiarism or close paraphrasing. -Though most references seem to be fairly up-to-date there are a couple that are more out of date (ie: Janice Podsada (19 June 2001). "Lost Sea Cargo: Beach Bounty or Junk?" and Davet, ME; O'Toole, GA (2000), "Microbial biofilms: from ecology to molecular genetics”) and such information should be reevaluated and updated if needed. As many of these sources were accessed in 2008 and 2009 (according to retrieval dates given), the sources were up to date at the time, but information should be reinforced with more recent sources. -There isn’t any tendency for bias in the article. Though there tends to be an emphasis on the negative impacts of debris, it is more factual than argumentative. Furthermore, the “Environmental impact” section addresses both negative impacts and mentions positive and neutral impacts of particular debris.

A few specific suggestions:

First section: Appropriate reference? The first article that is cited (from CNN) seems to be an article that is more focused on specific effects of pollution on birds in pacific island regions rather than tendencies of debris accumulation. There are likely more appropriate sources regarding locations/occurrences of ocean debris.


Section on Nurdles: What is an observable impact they have on the environment or animals? Other sections on other types of debris address this, but the reader is kind of left hanging on how nurdles impact the ocean ecosystem...since there is a negative tendency with most others, are we to assume the impact is the same?


“Sources of debris” section: Should begin with broader sources and then move down into more specifics. There are many more sources of marine debris, but initially mentioning a specific type and incident is kind of distracting from the bigger picture. Seems more focused on “Friendly Floaties", which is a good example, but that should be mentioned after a more general outline of sources.

“Sources of debris” section: “Marine litter is even found on the floor of the Arctic Ocean” - this out of place under this heading. Would be a better fit under another… possibly in “Deep-sea debris” where other locations are mentioned.

First few sections: -There are some grammatical issues, including a few run-on sentences, that make some sections difficult to read. Making an effort to avoid such mistakes will help the paper flow better.

Cinnis (talk) 01:24, 9 November 2017 (UTC)