The Ocean Plastic Scare: Not enough to be a Drop in the Bucket

“Space,” it says, “is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space, listen…”

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

For all of those who are absolutely terrified by this report:

Using an oceanographic model of floating debris dispersal calibrated by our data, and correcting for wind-driven vertical mixing, we estimate a minimum of 5.25 trillion particles weighing 268,940 tons.

And to all those organs of the left ready to demand billions of your tax dollars be spent worldwide to NGO & even more billions be extracted by people who actually build things and provide employment let me provide you with the one thing that their argument dreads the most:

Context.   

Fact #1

Here is a map of the world

SkyWorld

That blue part is something we call  the Oceans.  

There are a total of 5 oceans, and they are the Arctic, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and the Antarctic Ocean. Out of these five, there are three major oceans, the Atlantic, Pacific, and the Indian Ocean. They account for 90 percent of the area covered by oceans. The Pacific Ocean is the largest of oceans, its area is 181 million square kilometers, which covers nearly a third of the Earth’s surface. The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest, covering 94 million square kilometers, and the Indian Ocean is the third largest, covering about 74 million square kilometers.

Back when I was a kid there were only 4 oceans what is now call the “Antarctic Ocean” was considered part of the Indian, Atlantic & Pacific Oceans but I digress.  The point is the oceans of the world  They’re big, really big.

How big?

The planet Earth is a planet of oceans. The total area of the Earth is approximately 510 million square kilometers and the oceans cover about 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, which is about 360 million square kilometers.

Fact #2:

One of the things you will find traveling on the oceans are things called ships.  This is a type of ship we call an Aircraft Carrier:

aircraft carrier

 

A great example of an Aircraft Carrier is the US Nimitz Class.  Each one has a large crew and as far as ships go they’re pretty big.

The more recent Nimitz Class carriers (CVN72-CVN76) have a displacement of 102,000t when fully loaded. They have a length of 317m and beam of 40.8m.

That works out to about 4.5 acres  for  a carrier

The carrier reaches a maximum speed of over 30kt, and accommodates a complement of 3,184 personnel (with 203 officers); 2,800 aircrew (with 366 officers); and 70 flag (with 25 officers).

Notice that number 102,000 tons we’ll be getting back to that.

Fact #3

Aircraft carriers have around for 100 years (103 to be exact) but didn’t become common weapons of war till after world war 1.  Man made plastic has been around for a little longer:

The history of plastics goes back more than 100 years – however, compared to other materials, plastics are relatively modern. Their usage over the past century has enabled society to make huge technological advances to take us towards the new Millennium.

But mass production of plastic goes back to only the 1930’s.

Two developments during the 30s swept the plastics industry into mass production. Firstly, manufacturers learnt how to produce plastics from petroleum – polystyrene, acrylic polymers and polyvinyl chloride were all made in this way. Secondly, injection molding, which had always been problematical, became much improved and fully automated in 1937. Both developments were good news for the consumer as they brought down the price of the end-product and put plastics within easy grasp of everyone.

and it was during World War 2 when both Aircraft carriers & Plastics came into their own:

World War II meant a huge boost for plastics. As a domestically generated resource which had by this time become relatively cheap, plastic was able to take over from imported materials. In terms of design technology, consumer products benefited from the new techniques which had been developed out of necessity during the war. The production of plastics which are still used widely today – such as polyethylene, polystyrene, polyester, PET and silicones – all grew during the wartime period. Silicones, for example, became widely used as water repellants and in heat resistant paints.

So we are talking about 75 years of plastic being a common mass produced item commonly used by the average person.

So what do these three facts about the history of plastic, aircraft carriers & the size of the ocean tell us…

They tell us that in 75 years of mass use by the general public the entire amount of plastic pollution currently in the world’s 360 million square miles of ocean is less in weight than three Nimitz class aircraft carriers.

When you put it that way this isn’t the crisis that’s it’s made to be which means you can’t raise money, get grants, shake down people for taxes and spending or get the UN to host your NGO to solve this problem.  Such a thing could take thousands of leftists off the gravy train.

And that can’t be allowed, can it?

Olimometer 2.52

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