Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now
Opinion >  Letters

Garbage patch not that big

As Mark Twain quipped, it’s not what you don’t know that gets you into trouble, it’s what you know that just ain’t so. A claim made at the recent sea lion exhibition in Spokane is a case in point. Organizer Jenifer Zeligs claimed that garbage in the Pacific Ocean “is twice the size of Texas and the floating trash is 9 feet deep.” This claim has been repeatedly discredited.

Oceanographer Angel White from Oregon State University released a study noting “the highest concentrations ever reported by scientists produces a patch that is a small fraction of the state of Texas, not twice the size.” Frustrated by such claims, she added, “this kind of exaggeration undermines the credibility of scientists.”

NOAA also addressed the issue, noting “no scientifically sound estimates exist for the size or mass of these garbage patches.”

There are real problems facing marine mammals. Abandoned fishing nets ensnare marine mammals, killing thousands every year. It is a real problem we need to address.

Rather than using phony claims to scare children, however, we should be teaching them to follow good science so we can focus on efforts that will truly save the lives of these wonderful animals.

Todd Myers, Environmental director, Washington Policy Center

Sammamish


 

Letters policy

The Spokesman-Review invites original letters on topics of public interest. Your letter must adhere to the following rules:

  • No more than 250 words
  • We reserve the right to reject letters that are not factually correct, racist or are written with malice.
  • We cannot accept more than one letter a month from the same writer.
  • With each letter, include your daytime phone number and street address.
  • The Spokesman-Review retains the nonexclusive right to archive and re-publish any material submitted for publication.
Unfortunately, we don’t have space to publish all letters received, nor are we able to acknowledge their receipt.
Click here to learn more.

Submit letters using any of the following:

Our online form

Mail: Letters to the Editor
The Spokesman-Review
999 W. Riverside Ave.
Spokane, WA 99201

Email: editor@spokesman.com
Fax: (509) 459-3815
Questions?: (509) 459-5430