How much trash is really in the ocean?

Many Worlds Theory

There’s been a lot of press lately about all the plastic crap in our oceans. For example, this Mother Jones article of a week ago has metastasized and been re-posted many times. In the article, there are some (seemingly) alarming claims, such as:

  • There are up to 28 billion pounds (12.7 million metric tons) of plastic in the oceans;
  • There’s an accumulation of junk (the great Pacific garbage patch) which is twice the area of Texas.


Now, I will be the first person to condemn pollution, promote biodegradability, and sing the praises of sustainability. However, these numbers (if taken at face value, and I have no reason not to) don’t necessarily make a very strong case that the oceans are filled with junk.

The problem is that the oceans are just so ridiculously huge to begin with.

Let’s do some simple math. All of the oceans on the planet…

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