Rebuttal: Garbage Patch

The thesis of my paper revolves around the idea that the world needs to come together and fix the problem that is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The reason that this idea is controversial is that the world has never united to solve a problem like this. The patch has yet to be cleaned up because no country is willing to take responsibility for it.

The obvious rebuttal for this argument, is that it is simply too expensive. The garbage patch is a problem, but it is something that has existed for a long time, and has yet to do serious damage to the ocean. Fixing the patch is just not worth the cost or the effort.

The facts are both true. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is something that has existed for a long time, and has yet to truly show the damage that it is doing. The fact is that the Patch is killing lots of fish and other wildlife, but that has not truly affected human beings in a dramatically noticeable way. Eventually, if the patch continues to grow, it could wipe out millions of plankton, which will leave the oceans ecosystem in ruins.

The great pacific Garbage patch was not even discovered until 1997. This means that for decades, garbage has drifted into the ocean from countries around the world and collected up. What it also means is the patch did not do enough damage to be noticeable. The detriment that the patch causes is slow. The scary thing is that it will continue to cause problems until they become irreversible. If fish species die out due to the lack of plankton, that could mean the mass extinction of fish throughout the world.

The other half of the argument is that it is too expensive, and this is also an issue. The constant waves and sunlight break down the plastic in the patch, and essentially turn it into plastic sawdust. Known as “microplastics” these small pieces are not biodegradable, and are commonly ingested by all kinds of animals. The plastic bits are nearly impossible to clean up, due to their size and number. This means that the patch would be extremely expensive to clean up. In an article published by, it is said that most experts believe that cleaning up the patch is impossible. They say this is because there is too much trash and not enough fuel.

According to an article published by the New York Times, plastic is a problem because it is lightweight, durable and an omnipresent, disposable product in both advanced and developing societies. Basically plastic is cheap and constantly being manufactured, so it is the most common type of pollution. Billions and billions of plastic microfibers would cause this cleanup to be too expensive and too big of a job.

This is actually not something that can be argued. There is no way to make cleaning the patch cheap. This is why I believe that it should be a combined effort from countries around the world. There is, however a way to make the problem cheaper in the future. IF the manufacturing costs of plastics are raised, then manufacturers would be forced to use cheaper, cleaner alternatives.

Another argument against this idea is that countries would never agree to it. Due to the cost and effort, getting a worldwide interest in cleaning up the patch would be near impossible. This is another good argument, because it is true, countries would not like the idea of spending millions of dollars to clean up a problem that seems so far away and unimportant. While the notion of cleaning up the patch is a good one, world leaders have other tasks on their minds that seem more pressing.

Cleaning up The Great Pacific Garbage Patch should be a worldwide effort. While it is true that countries may not be willing to take responsibility, the fact is that it is the fault of every county. No one country is responsible for the trash in the patch. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the result of worldwide neglect and apathy, and thus should be treated as everybody’s problem.

Works Cited

Hoshaw, Lindsay. “Afloat in the Ocean, Expanding Islands of Trash.” New York Times. 10   Nov. 2009. Web. 06 Feb. 2017

Kaiser, Jocelyn, Jocelyn Kaiser, and Science18 Jun 2010 : 1506. “The Dirt on Ocean            Garbage Patches.” The Dirt on Ocean Garbage Patches | Science. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2017.

Marks, Kathy, and Daniel Howden. “The world’s rubbish dump: a garbage tip that stretches from Hawaii to Japan.” Http:// N.p., 5 Feb. 2008. Web. 19 Feb. 2016.

Layton, Julia. “Could we clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?” HowStuffWorks Science. HowStuffWorks, 04 Feb. 2010. Web. 11 Apr. 2017.

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4 Responses to Rebuttal—kingoflizards

  1. davidbdale says:

    A common problem with most of the Rebuttal Arguments in this class is that they lack a credible source to argue against. Yours is among them. Another is that they lack actual citations to match the items in the Works Cited. Your is among those too. Take time in class today to correct both problems.

    Also, here’s a suggestion. Plastics are made because they’re wonderfully customizable, but also because they’re cheaper than glass and paper alternatives, cheaper than plant cellulose products too, that could be almost as customizable. They will continue to be a pollutant as long as they’re manufactured, and they’ll be discarded and end up in the ocean as long as they’re worthless.

    So. Let’s make them expensive and valuable. Force the manufacturers to contribute to a cleanup fund for every piece they produce WHEN THEY ARE PRODUCED. Part of the money will reimburse anyone who returns a piece for recycling or reuse. The rest of the money will go to global cleanup efforts like collecting The Patch.

    • kingoflizards says:

      That is not something that I thought about, that is definitely worth looking into. That is certainly an unorthodox solution to this problem, which is exactly what I am looking for.

      • davidbdale says:

        I think it’s eminently fair to charge the producers, don’t you? Otherwise, as you suggest, nobody is individually responsible. The obvious objection—that it will raise the cost of packaging and products unsustainably—is precisely what makes it work best. The things we throw away after single uses WERE NEVER REALLY CHEAP. They simply passed their cleanup costs on to the environment.

        • kingoflizards says:

          I will definitely add this into the final paper. This idea is a good one that, with enough research, could make my paper into a great one

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