'Great Garbage Patch' in the Pacific Ocean not so great claim scientists
Environmental scientists have been criticised for exaggerating the size of an "island" of plastic waste said to be swirling around in the Pacific Ocean after a study finds that it is 200 times smaller than claimed.
One popular claim is that the size of the patch is twice that of the state of Texas - half a million square miles or the equivalent of 20 times the size of England
By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent 7:00AM GMT 06 Jan 2011
Claims that the "Great Garbage Patch" between California and Japan is twice the size of Texas is "grossly exaggerated" said the research which reckons it is more like one per cent the size.
Further reports that the oceans are filled with more plastic than plankton, and that the patch has been growing tenfold each decade since the 1950s are equally misleading, the new research claimed.
In reality it often cannot even be seen from the deck of a passing boat, said the latest analysts from the Oregon State University professor of oceanography Angelicque White.
The scientist took part in a recent marine expedition to examine the mass of plastic that is floating in the ocean and found there was a problem.
But genuine scientific concerns are undermined by scare tactics from those proclaiming the trash patch is so big that there is more plastic than plankton in the Pacific.