'Garbage Patches': What We Really Know (Part 1) krista.e.stegemann Thu, 06/21/2012 - 13:28

By: Carey Morishige, Pacific Islands Regional Coordinator with the NOAA Marine Debris Program

Working for the NOAA Marine Debris Program, I’ve been asked quite a bit about the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch.’ "Is it really twice the size of Texas?" "Can you see it from an airplane? On Google Earth?"  Working for a science-based agency has underscored my belief in the importance of information based on what is actually known, directly from the experts. That said, I’d like to take this opportunity to debunk some of these ‘garbage patch’ myths.

As you’ve probably seen, the media has been filled with stories about plastic marine debris and the so-called garbage patches. It’s a popular topic (and an important one, don’t get me wrong). However, one common thread through many of these articles deals with misconceptions about the size of the ‘garbage patches.’ 

Cigarette Butts: Plastic, Toxic, Marine Debris

Posted Thu, 04/19/2012 - 02:12

By: Anna Manyak, Knauss Fellow with the NOAA Marine Debris Program

Prior to the 1960s, littering was commonplace.  For those of us who were not alive during that time and love a good TV show, Mad Men gives us an entertaining glimpse of the everyday practices of this era.  If you’re anything like me, you were probably appalled at the episode where the Draper family leaves their trash from a picnic scattered on the ground, with a receptacle in clear sight.  Our littering standards have come a long way since then.  Today, tossing trash on the street or out a car window is unacceptable and unlawful.  However, despite these great strides in litter control, littering of one item in particular continues to be commonplace: Cigarette butts.