The Spanish scientist who estimated that 1 million tons of plastic are swirling around the world's oceans was slightly off and now has a new estimate -- it's more like 7,000 to 35,000 tons, according to an article in the San Francisco Gate.
That's a far cry from his original estimate, which subsequently fired off Internet and media campaigns showing the Great Pacific Garbage Patch endangering millions of sea animals and threatening the world's very existence.
The scientist, Andrés Cózar, led a new research team and found "micro plastics," but not large floating islands of plastic bags and other debris. The article states that "convergence zones" in the ocean currents are swirling with these tiny particles of plastic "like a snow globe half a minute after shaking."
The article also points out the many (100) California cities that have banned the use of single-use plastic bags because of this faulty research. A California oceanographer says it is more likely to see plastic bags in the harbor, not in the ocean.
But that doesn't stop the folks at Surfrider Foundation from posting videos touting 1.5 million marine animals killed each year due to plastics in the ocean, as SFGate found. The writer interviewed an environmental science professor who said there are no facts to back up that claim. When confronted with that statement, a senior staffer at Surfrider said, "I will admit it's difficult to track down a definitive scientific study source for it."
SFGate talked to a scientist that said only 10 percent of the 150 fish he dissected contained the micro plastics but can't say whether or not that killed them.