Contrary to the NY Times — The DR Has Lots of Clean Beautiful Beaches

Guest Essay by Kip Hansen

nytimes_vs_realityPalko Karasz, writing in the New York Times, with a degree of insensitivity bordering on blatant intentional libel, reports: “Come for the beaches, say tourism ads for the Dominican Republic. But it has some beaches you might want to skip right now. The Caribbean nation is known for sapphire seas and ivory beaches, but it is grappling with waves of garbage washing up on its shores, a vivid reminder of the presence of thousands of tons of plastic in the world’s oceans.

The NY Times article is “Wave After Wave of Garbage Hits the Dominican Republic”, published yesterday in the Times’ AMERICAS section.  There are photos of a massive shore clean-up, with government employees raking up huge piles of floating plastic trash mixed with seaweed.  Most of the article is based on a rabidly biased blog post from an anti-plastics activist group Parley for the Oceans.

It appears, at a quick glance, that Karasz has allowed himself to be gamed into the story by Parley for the Oceans. Karasz is “a digital editor for The New York Times, based in the London newsroom. He is part of a digital team that covers live news, including recent terrorist attacks and elections across Europe.”  Environmental news is not his beat…the Caribbean is not his beat….oceanic plastic is not his beat.

Karasz is gamed first and foremost into including “Those piles [referring to the piles of trash in the photos below],  most notably the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” are usually far from human settlements, to say nothing of resort destinations.”  Karasz’ link leads to another misleading NY Times article from earlier in the year, featuring blow-ups of Petri dishes full of itty-bitty pieces of plastic — the shocking finds of a study that finally included  the weight of floating masses of lost fishing nets in the calculations, allowing them to claim “The ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ Is Ballooning, 87,000 Tons of Plastic and Counting”.

The proper reference for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is NOAA’s  “How Big Is the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”? Science vs. Myth” — whose iconic authoritative answer is “There is no “garbage patch,”.

Here’s a collage of the photos offered by The Times:


Notice that the  story isn’t “Massive Clean-up underway on Santo Domingo Beaches”– instead Karasz echoes Parley for the Oceans blog post nearly word for word — Parley describes Playa Montesionos as an “apocalyptic scene – wave after wave of plastic debris rolling in at Montesinos Beach in the capital, Santo Domingo“ language mirrored by Karasz in the title of his NY Times piece.  Karasz then goes on, falling into the trap, with “But instead of visitors relaxing on Montesinos Beach in the capital, Santo Domingo, there has been an altogether different scene, one unlikely to wind up on a postcard: Hundreds of city workers and volunteers who have been waging an uphill battle against wave after wave of sludgy garbage.”  Oh, really?

Where is Montesinos Beach?


Playa Montesinos is a little patch of sand built up on the breakwater that protects the cargo ship docks of Santo Domingo — one can drive down next to the fence by the docks — which are heavily guarded.  Truck drivers congregate here to eat their lunches while waiting to enter the docks to pick up cargo.  In the following blow-up, you  can see the white-roof on the left side — the upscale restaurant “D’ Luis Parrillada”.


You will see no lounging tourists and see the beach as it usually is — clean and beautiful. [ These satellite images are taken at random and picked for publication based on their being cloud free.]  I have parked where the cars are on the right, waiting to be able to enter the dock area and pick up a life raft that had been shipped to us.  I have eaten in the restaurant.  This part of town (north of the playa) is Colonial Santo Domingo, with lots of beautiful buildings going back hundreds of years and well worth visiting.  It is not, however, near any tourist hotels and the beach is normally as you see it above, empty of people.

The Dominican Republic is a “developing nation” — meaning that is has all the problems and difficulties of other developing nations, including problems as simple as “picking up and disposing of the trash”.  The Dominican Republic is in the path of tropical storms and hurricanes, that regularly sweep over Santo Domingo dropping an average of 57 inches of rain a year.

When those torrents of rain come down, they sweep the streets of the slums up-river into the Ozama and its tributaries, washing into the river all the plastic refuse and trash on the streets, many of the houses of the poor, and sometimes whole neighborhoods.  Everything that floats comes downstream and enters the ocean between the Naval Officers Club on the east and the cargo docks on the west.  The winds and waves are both normally from the south, and blow all the floating material onto the beach — not just at Montesinos, but all along the generally rocky shore of the city of Santo Domingo.  The trash gets mixed with the floating seaweed that is driven ashore by the same forces.

Karasz does quote one Dominican “The plastic waste washing onto Montesinos Beach comes from the Ozama River, which flows into the Caribbean nearby”, one of those in charge of the cleanup, Gen. Rafael Antonio Carrasco, told Reuters.” [More correctly, the quote if from Brigadier General Rafael Antonio Carrasco Paulino, the executive director of the Civil Defense.]

Relying on Cyrill Gutsch, the founder of Parley for the Oceans, who is based in New York, Karasz parrots “It happens pretty much all the time if there is a strong rainfall or a storm,…The phenomenon is not confined to the Dominican Republic, and can be seen in many developing nations with a coastline. “Everybody uses the rivers and the beaches as dump sites.” and “What is happening in the Dominican Republic is only a small symptom of the larger global problem”, Mr. Gutsch said. Plastic dumped in and near rivers washes into the ocean, and only a small percentage bounces back onto shore. The majority makes it to the high seas.”

Based on my personal experience living in the Dominican Republic for ten years, it is absolutely untrue that “Everybody uses the rivers and the beaches as dump sites.” While there is a tendency to be a “little loose with litter” and municipal trash and garbage pickup systems leave a lot to be desired,  none of the governmental entities actually use rivers or beaches as “dump sites”  — anyone caught using a beach as a dump site would be arrested if reported.  Neither does the Domincan Republic allow the dumping municipal trash “in or near” rivers.  Sanitary land fills in the DR may not quite up be to US or European standards, but every effort is made within their economic reach to be responsible.

The assertion by Cyrill Gutsch that “only a small percentage bounces back onto shore. The majority makes it to the high seas” is unsupported by evidence and certainly is not true for the Caribbean which I sailed up and down for years — there is very little floating plastic off-shore — sighting anything big enough to see with the naked eye is an “event” often leading to changing course to get close enough to check out the identity of floating entities.  We did see, on one occasion shortly after a hurricane, a refrigerator sans door, floating 50 miles offshore.

So, despite what this one activist organization publishes, and games a London-based NY Times journalist into repeating, here’s what the beaches of the Dominican Republic really look like — “scout’s honor” — I have been to each of these many times and always found them just as pictured:

Sosua Beach — North Shore (I lived in Sosua for a year, while my youngest son, now a Captain, attended an International High School):


Bavaro Beach — a beautiful, all-inclusive report on the East Shore:


Macao Beach — East Shore:


Playa Rincon – faces the Atlantic on the north side of Samana Peninsula:


And then there is this beautiful, rarely visited prefect pink sand beach called Playa El Valle — facing the Atlantic:


The two “businesses” shown by Google Maps demonstrate the entrepreneurship of the Dominican people.  They are, in reality, just two beach shacks — one nominally a “bar and grill” and the other a “restaurant” at which Josefina will fix you a meal, if she’s there.  Although not an authorized port for foreign vessels, we anchored there under Safety At Sea rules for “any port in a storm”.   The locals arranged a horseback riding tour for us.

Pay no attention to the libelous reports in the NY Times.  There are hundreds (literally, hundreds — I have pictures — lots of pictures) of equally beautiful, near empty beaches in the Dominican Republic — vacation packages, including airfare,  are available very inexpensively to lovely all-inclusive resorts.

Or, like my family, go on your own, sail down or fly, stay in native hotels where you will be treated very well.

The Dominican Republic is beautiful.  Visitors Welcome. 

# # # # #

Authors Note:

This is really a lesson in junk journalism.  It appears that a journalist in London was ‘touched’ by an activist group in New York to write a hear-say story about something in the Dominican Republic — a story bound to scare away tourists, on which a lot of their economy depends.  Oh, the trash did wash down the Ozama, it does every heavy rainfall, and the government cleans it up.  It does not affect tourist beaches.

The same thing happens in the Phillipines, all over Southeast Asia, Malaysia, etc.  Not as bad in Africa which doesn’t have as many huge cites along the coasts.

If I hadn’t had the personal experience in the DR, I wouldn’t have spotted the fake news aspects.

Lesson To Be Learned:  Whenever an activist organization is involved in a news story — check and double check the “facts” — it’s easy to be burned.

# # # # #

Quick Links:

Palko Karasz

thousands of tons of plastic

Wave After Wave of Garbage Hits the Dominican Republic

biased blog post from an anti-plastics activist group Parley for the Oceans

“Great Pacific Garbage Patch,”

Petri dishes

The ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ Is Ballooning, 87,000 Tons of Plastic and Counting

NOAA’s  “How Big Is the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”? Science vs. Myth

Late Addition:  You should also read my previous essays on pelagic plastic:

An Ocean of Plastic

Plastics Yet Again.

# # # # #

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July 24, 2018 7:56 pm

Talk about a former news paper killing the tourism for a country that could always use some tourism…what a slanderous bummer

Reply to  rick
July 25, 2018 10:21 am

Can a nation sue for slander?

R. Shearer
July 24, 2018 8:19 pm

In other fake news: Hillary to run her first half marathon.

Reply to  R. Shearer
July 25, 2018 5:25 am

That would give the seismometer a bit of action – maybe a new level on the Richter scale?

Reply to  R. Shearer
July 25, 2018 5:18 pm

There’s the mental imagery for tonight’s nightmare…

July 24, 2018 8:26 pm

But it supports the narrative! I believe people are becoming more and more aware of junk” journalism” (and I use that term loosely).

July 24, 2018 8:28 pm

Ah yes, the Fakestream Media and their Fake News, complete with the debunked “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”…. Meanwhile, the Ecofascists have managed to get the Queensland Government in Australia to Ban “single use” plastic shopping bags.

Getting more than sick of this ecofascism. My electricity bill is through the roof because of the banning of coal, now they’re banning plastic shopping bags and making shopping even more of a chore…… Wish we could ban Greenies.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  J.H.
July 24, 2018 8:55 pm

That ban, on free bags, extends to the whole country now. As you know, we have multi-use bags which cost nearly AU$1. And they are still made of plastic, 80% of which is recycled (Apparently). And they are nicely printed too.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Patrick MJD
July 24, 2018 9:31 pm

We use cardboard boxes. Some I’ve cut holes in for handles. Others stay in the car.
Wheel the cart out (many stores have them) and load into the box in the car.
Boxes work better than plastic bags.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  John F. Hultquist
July 24, 2018 10:18 pm

Cardboard? Bloody luxury!

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
July 24, 2018 11:23 pm

Banana boxes?

Tom in Florida
Reply to  lee
July 25, 2018 5:43 am


Reply to  John F. Hultquist
July 25, 2018 7:12 am

How do you clean the boxes between uses?

Reply to  MarkW
July 25, 2018 9:05 am

No need to clean them if you line them with a plastic bag.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
July 25, 2018 12:34 am

i’m taking advantage of the free hand baskets they have just inside the shops door, the ones with the metal arms. *

I also have a very strong desire to ask why free plastic shopping bag is banned yet the 10c one they offer to sell me is precisely the same as the old free ones .. but my wife tells me to shush.

(* if they look fidgety and say I can’t take those but I can buy a reusable bag, I tell them I have 85 of the damned thing in the back of the car and I’m not spending a bloody cent on another – and I get my free hand basket)

Shanghai Dan
July 24, 2018 8:29 pm

Lying about the beaches, to kill tourism? Why does the New York Times hate brown people?

Y. Knott
Reply to  Shanghai Dan
July 25, 2018 3:28 am

– BLM (“Bl00dy Lies Mislead”) – but I’m envious; you’re so woke! XD

Kristi Silber
July 24, 2018 8:44 pm

“The proper reference for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is NOAA’s ‘How Big Is the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”? Science vs. Myth’ — whose iconic authoritative answer is ‘There is no “garbage patch,”'”

Kip, you left out the second point,
“There are many ‘garbage patches.'” The reason “garbage patch” is in quotes is because it’s not like people envision a garbage patch, with all kinds of floating detritus visible at the surface. Surely you know this, having read the page, so giving this quote alone is misleading.

Maybe you haven’t seen them because “The debris is continuously mixed by wind and wave action and widely dispersed both over huge surface areas and throughout the top portion of the water column. It is possible to sail through the ‘garbage patch’ area and see very little or no debris on the water’s surface.”

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Kristi Silber
July 24, 2018 9:23 pm

For once I’m on your side Kristi. The world DOES have a plastics problem. There are 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the oceans and the number increases both from new plastic being dumped in waterways or directly in the oceans and from larger pieces breaking down to smaller ones. However FORGET about CO2 being a problem Kristi. The world’s atmosphere needs more CO2 NOT LESS. The world needs you to fight against plastic dumping; NOT CO2.

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
July 25, 2018 5:32 am

As I always say, “If you are going to make up a number, make up a big one.”

Gary Ashe
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
July 25, 2018 7:14 am

It’s only problem because of ”climate change” or rather the false co2 factor

Just incinerate the bloody stuff, generate power, scrub the stack,………problem sorted

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Kristi Silber
July 25, 2018 5:47 am

If the leaders of the world had directed all the money they wasted on chasing the CO2 boogeyman towards real pollution, such as ocean garbage patches, perhaps we would have been much cleaner waters now.

spalding craft
Reply to  Kristi Silber
July 25, 2018 8:06 am

Alan, others. Why do we have to drag CO2 into this discussion? Kristi makes a good point and Kip has written a good piece about a serious problem. And he’s not minimizing the trash issue – he’s commenting on how media will distort their coverage to get traction with their target audience.

Reply to  spalding craft
July 25, 2018 10:23 am

If CO2 makes the oceans more acidic, will that dissolve the plastic?

holly elizabeth Birtwistle
Reply to  Kristi Silber
July 25, 2018 10:35 pm

Kristi, and others here who should know better. The oceans are not full of plastic. They never will be. The amount of plastic in the oceans is insignificant. The “oceans are full of plastic” alarmism is just the latest anti-human environmental propaganda scheme. That’s all.

Patrick MJD
July 24, 2018 8:51 pm

I don’t trust Google Earth images at all. Search for Chittagong in Pakistan. You will see clean beaches in the whole area. In reality, all beaches are littered with ships being scrapped.

Bernie Tranter
Reply to  Patrick MJD
July 25, 2018 12:01 am

Bernie B
Patrick MJD ‘Search for Chittagong in Pakistan’. Patrick, Chittagong is not in Pakistan. It is in Bangla Desh- once(1971) East Pakistan, a long time ago. Pakistan’s ship breaking centre is at Gadani 50km NW of Karachi – a desolate beach of broken ships.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
July 25, 2018 12:25 am

Sorry, but that is not a beach in Pakistan. Maybe in Bangladesh?

Reply to  Patrick MJD
July 25, 2018 12:41 am

In real reality, there are no ships on the Chittagong beaches. That’s because the ship breaking yards are in Gadani, not Chittagong. Search Google Earth for Gadani. You will see the ships.

July 24, 2018 8:53 pm

Regarding “The Dominican Republic is in the path of tropical storms and hurricanes, that regularly sweep over Santo Domingo dropping an average of 57 inches of rain a year”: 57 inches is Santo Domingo’s average annual rainfall from all of the kinds of rain producing weather that they get including easterly waves and local rain events. Most of that 57 inches is not from tropical storms and hurricanes.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
July 24, 2018 9:36 pm

For many weather events a “mean” (average) can be misleading.
Do you know the maximum rain in a day, or 3 days?
For example, where we live, our mean precipitation is 9 inches per year. Most days we get zero.

Doug S
July 24, 2018 9:25 pm

Well done Kip. There’s nothing like an eye witness to put the story straight.

Peter D
July 24, 2018 9:29 pm

Thank you for sharing this. Stunning place.
Why does the NYT want to destroy the economy of a poor third world nation?

Clay Sanborn
July 24, 2018 9:42 pm

I believe I began to realize the wheels of truth began falling off of the TV evening news in the 80s when Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings were headliners. While it may not have been the case, it seemed like Tom Brokaw, especially, used to report on some issue which he’d call a “crisis”, twice a week (different issues). I began to notice this behavior and got focused on his doing this. My thinking was if the issue was a crisis, we should hear of the issue many more times in subsequent broadcasts, but no, we almost never did. All these crises, and no mention of them again. Were they really crises to began with?
I used to listen to KRLD in Dallas on my way home from work in the 90s. Sometimes Dan Rather would be pitching something for which I always half listened. One day, I actually listened to Dan Rather giving forth about something, and I realized he was simply full of it, and himself. I was so bothered by his drivel that I called KRLD to tell them I thought Rather was rather inane, and was essentially telling the listener what to think. The person to whom I spoke said he hadn’t heard anything from anyone to that effect. 20 some years later, I felt somewhat vindicated that he was yet another liberal that made things up (in Texas we call that lying; President Trump calls it Fake News, of course). Sometime in the 80s (maybe even in the late 70s) the media became master prevaricators. IMO, now they are just plain liars. Thank God for the internet where a discerning person can smoke out the truth. But one has to work at it now. For example, in only 3 weeks, in 2007, I was able to determine, without a doubt in my mind, that CAGW was pure steamy Texas cowpaddy. One can no longer trust the media – they gave up their right to be believed.

Juan Slayton
Reply to  Clay Sanborn
July 24, 2018 10:49 pm

Dan Rather used to get a short (maybe 2 or 3 minutes) presentation on our local CBS station that I heard in the afternoon on my way home from work. As I remember, these essays were frequently opinion commentary, which is perfectly legitimate. Sometimes I think I even agreed with him. But his regular use of the phrase “Dan Rather reporting” was objectionable. A paradigm case of an influential media figure seemingly oblivious to the difference between opinion and fact.

Reply to  Clay Sanborn
July 25, 2018 10:27 am

Nobody has a right to be believed. Trust has to be earned.

July 24, 2018 10:11 pm

I really think reports of damage done to the oceans by plastic is grossly exaggerated.
And usually comes from activists who are desperate to find the “evidence”.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Jeff
July 24, 2018 10:21 pm

Apparently the size of Texas. Well if images of floating aircraft wreckage the size of a door can be found via satellite, I am sure they can find a plastic patch the size of Texas too. To date, nothing of the sort has been found. Like the heat in the oceans, it’s AWOL.

Reply to  Jeff
July 24, 2018 11:09 pm

“I really think reports of damage done to the oceans by plastic is grossly exaggerated.”

What is the basis for that conclusion?

Reply to  Chris
July 25, 2018 12:48 am

NOAA. Try, for example You may find the facts to be useful, or not.

Reply to  DHR
July 25, 2018 11:01 am

So what? Are you saying if the problem is not visible on the surface of the ocean, then it does not exist?

Reply to  DHR
August 1, 2018 5:54 am

It’s just an area of increased concentration. Some documentary went through it and basically he saw one piece of garbage every time he went on deck. They usually drag a net through it to get enough for a good picture. The area is avoided by sailboats apparently.

Reply to  Chris
July 25, 2018 3:30 am

“What is the basis for that conclusion?”
Some green activists main mission is to find evidence of marine rubbish.
And rubbish is what they present to us, no surprise.

Reply to  Chris
July 25, 2018 10:28 am

The fact that people can’t find any damage would be a good place to start.

Reply to  Chris
July 25, 2018 10:45 am

Here’s a site from an environmental group on the patch the size of Texas.

Note that all their pictures of the patch show beautiful open blue ocean, such as this one of them picking up plastic:

comment image

Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 25, 2018 11:06 pm

Yes I agree with all that, it’s just I get a little irritated with what I feel is sensationalism and distorted reporting.

Komrade Kuma
July 24, 2018 10:34 pm

A picture is worth a thousand words which makes it the most economic way to lie.

July 24, 2018 10:37 pm

FAKE photojournalism is as insidious as FAKE verbaljournalism. This article reminds me of how I select Hotels when I travel … GoogleEarth. Invariably, all the photos posted by the Hotels are … well … carefully cropped to omit the power plant next door to the hotel … or the all-night discotheque next door. GoogleEarth easily corrects all the cropped, filtered, and outdated photos posted to make a sketchy hotel look good. Same thing here. Same thing with the FRAUDULENT photos I see posted whenever I read an article about the … “floating garbage patch, the size of Texas” … swirling in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Leo Smith
July 24, 2018 10:42 pm

“You may in general believe everything you read in the newspapers except the one subject that you have specialist knowledge of.”

Steve Reddish
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 25, 2018 12:03 am

I worked prepress position in a newspaper for 6 years. Yes, I did notice that the newsroom was dominated by liberals. The bias was often displayed by stories that were selected to not print.


Steve Reddish
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 25, 2018 12:24 am

I have often seen comments on this forum to the point that liberals cannot do math. The liberal editor I worked under was definitely innumerate. He did not understand the difference between Kilowatts and Kilowatt hours and thought a rise from 200% to 210% was a 10% gain. He even thought Dec. 31, 1999 was the last day of the 20th century.


Jack simmons
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 25, 2018 5:52 am

My father was a lifetime reader of Time magazine. I started out the same.

Then I noticed a pattern. On any subject I happened to know about, Time would get it wrong. Not, usually, a complete lie; just a slight emphasis resulting in a distortion of what I knew to be true.

One day I asked myself, “If Time magazine gets it wrong on the subjects I know something about, what about the subjects I am ignorant of?”

Soon I broke the family tradition, stopping the subscription and never reading Time again.

July 25, 2018 12:45 am

how did they fake those pictures of clean-up squads and plastic strewn beaches?

Reply to  thefordprefect
July 25, 2018 10:32 am

Not beaches. A single beach. A single beach that has very unique circumstances.

July 25, 2018 12:57 am

“The plastic waste washing onto Montesinos Beach comes from the Ozama River, which flows into the Caribbean nearby, one of those in charge of the cleanup, Gen. Rafael Antonio Carrasco, told Reuters.”

read the article! this is a portion of the locally produced garbage. The rest gets washed out to sea to joing the international waste

Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 25, 2018 11:12 am

‘The vast majority of floating debris I have seen in my many cruises to and from the DR via the Bahamas have been items most likely blown or thrown off commercial ships or sport fishing boats.”

How do you know that is the case, and that it did not originate locally?

Reply to  thefordprefect
July 25, 2018 10:32 am

Do you have any idea how big the ocean is?

Charles Nelson
July 25, 2018 1:04 am

Just recently I’ve noticed this Green scum over everything.
Has anyone else?

Reply to  Charles Nelson
July 25, 2018 5:27 am

Yep, the green scum is (are) getting worse.
The NYT beach pic looks like the Greens have just finished one of their rallies.

July 25, 2018 1:17 am

Oh well that’s all right then, I will just throw my plastic rubbish in the sea!

(Plastics in the ocean is a problem, rather than pointing out alarmist drivel, why not join the valid fight against it.)

Charles Nelson
Reply to  MattS
July 25, 2018 2:08 am

You’re very easily influenced.
Do you believe in Global Warming too?

Reply to  Charles Nelson
July 25, 2018 3:29 am

I used to think the comments on WUWT were worth reading….

Reply to  MattS
July 25, 2018 10:34 am

Translation: Anything I disagree with isn’t worth reading.

Reply to  MarkW
July 25, 2018 11:05 am

No, he is saying the idiotic attacks on a known issue (marine plastics) discredits the rest of the content here. You know, just like the point that someone made above about a misleading article in Time magazine causing him to stop reading the magazine altogether.

Reply to  Chris
July 26, 2018 12:10 am

Exactly. It is demeaning for WUWT to do this, it makes a joke of it, discredits it, and makes a laughing stock of the readers when they can not differentiate between a blown up, hyped story about plastics in the ocean, and plastic in the ocean.

Reply to  MattS
July 25, 2018 4:56 am

So Charles is right, you fall for fake news…

Reply to  Marcus
July 25, 2018 6:17 am

Fake? I have seen it. I live near the sea.

Reply to  MattS
July 25, 2018 11:08 am

This is what passes for scientific discourse on WUWT. Matt posts about seeing plastics in the ocean near where he lives, and he gets 3 downvotes.

Reply to  Chris
July 25, 2018 11:15 am


This is what passes for scientific discourse on WUWT. Matt posts about seeing plastics in the ocean near where he lives, and he gets 3 downvotes.

This is what passes for scientific discourse on CNN: CNN-NPR and the liberal national socialist parties worldwide ( and their enviro pets) claim there is a area the size of Texas in the Pacific of floating plastic. No such mass is seen from space, the air, or by ships, but CNN repeats the claim as needed. Tons of plastic ARE floating in hundreds of third-world, heavily-polluted, sewage-filled rivers that will be not be changed by California hysterical law allowing people to be arrested for handing out straws and re-cycling plastic grocery bags. CNN hysterically requires higher energy prices and restrictions on sewage plants, steel processing, transportation, roads, power lines, and pipelines, dams and water projects that WILL fix their hysterical plastic crisis!

Reply to  MattS
July 25, 2018 5:30 am

MattS old mate,
Jump in a canoe at Long Beach and paddle across to Manilla and tell me how many bits of plastic you observe.
My money is on zero.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 25, 2018 10:57 pm

I spend time each year on the Great Barrier Reef and have done so for the past 50 years.
Despite not seeing any change in the health of corals , I have NEVER EVER seen any debris/plastic in the water.
You do see a few water bottles on the cays/islands. Probably left by James Cook University researchers. They are a notorious mob of grubs..

Reply to  toorightmate
July 25, 2018 8:00 am

I live near the sea and regularly see plastics washed up at the high tide mark with the sea weed.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 26, 2018 12:13 am

Devon, UK, very tidal, busy shipping lane, but in the developed part of the world. There is plenty of plastic mixed with sea weed at the high tide mark.


is not fake. It is real.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 25, 2018 8:01 am

Why not tell me the gist of them.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 26, 2018 12:16 am

So you agree that:
There are plastics in the oceans
We need to stop putting it there

So what are you arguing about? Where did I say the pacific plastic patch is real? Where did I say microbes dont break it down?

Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 26, 2018 7:26 am


Responsible boating includes keeping your trash (and especially plastics) under control and disposed of properly ashore.

Every couple years, I spend 3 or 4 days with a good college friend sailing around New England on his 40′(ish) sloop. He’s a true sailor (he likes to sniff, and turn his nose up at “stinkpots” we come across…), and amongst other habits necessary for spending time at sea, has drilled into our heads the necessity of trash control. Except, for him (and us, now) it goes well beyond the obvious litter of plastics, and extends to the idea that if it didn’t come from the sea it doesn’t go into the sea. So, no banana peels, apple cores, corn cobs, or etc get thrown overboard. As a former backpacker, this was a bit different as I would have considered organic “trash” as ok. Tossing an apple core into the woods as I hike, for example. (Hopefully this doesn’t trigger anyone…it’s liable to be a great little snack for a woodland rodent.) But, it’s a respect for the environment you’re in, I guess, and certainly makes sense to me.

I guess I don’t really have a point…just commenting.


Dale S
Reply to  MattS
July 25, 2018 8:02 am

Pointing out alarmist drivel is always worth doing, and requires no plastic rubbish to be put in the sea.

If you wish to fight against plastic in the sea, it’s important to scope the problem and realistically evaluate the effects of proposed solutions. Alarmist drivel is helpful for neither task, but might promote doing expensive virtue signaling with no practical effect on the real problem, such as it is.

Reply to  Dale S
July 26, 2018 12:18 am

Plastics in the ocean IS a problem though, and pointing out alarmist, highly selective and distorted pieces like this one does not help the problem. All it does is demean WUWT .

Reply to  MattS
July 25, 2018 10:34 am

Sensible people agree that the big problems should be tackled first.

If it’s such a big problem, why do those who advocate action have to lie about the severity of the problem?

Reply to  MattS
July 25, 2018 11:35 am

MattS –

China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand & Vietnam dump more plastic into oceans than the rest of the world combined.

What’s your plan?

Reply to  Lokki
July 26, 2018 12:20 am

Where did I blame the west that you need to reply like that?

Ed Zuiderwijk
July 25, 2018 1:21 am

A well-fed white bloke in London living with all modern conveniences slagging off a developing country based on hearsay and scurrilously false info. How much more racist can you get? The DR should sue the NYT for loss of earnings.

Wim Röst
July 25, 2018 1:39 am

The title of the NY Times is: ” Wave After Wave of Garbage Hits the Dominican Republic”, suggesting that the debris comes from the ocean. But who searches at google maps for the location, sees that some creeks of some 10-15 kilometers are ending at the polluted beach that is shown on the photos.

Poor countries often have no public garbage collection service. If there is such a service, it is a private paid one. Poor people throw their stuff somewhere. It ends up at the beach of the mouth of the creek. It does not come from the ocean, as suggested.

Of course there is plastic in the oceans and it shouldn’t be there. But ruin an economy of a poor country to get some attention for a newspaper has been a bad choice. The old high quality New York Times would have written an article about the need to improve garbage collection institutions in poor countries.

Reply to  Wim Röst
July 25, 2018 8:50 am

Imagine how much real and effective garbage collection could have been paid for by the tiniest sliver of the money wasted on the CO2 myth.

July 25, 2018 1:43 am

The DR is wonderful.
Yeah Right.
1) Prostitution is legal
2) Most all resorts are All Inclusive. (No need to leave the resort, for a reason)
3) Resorts are surrounded with walls and are gated, with security guards. (for a reason)
4) Tourists are advised *not* to leave the compound unless on a guided tour or escorted. (for a reason)

Go ahead, sail up to a deserted beach, look around, and tell us what a wonderful place the country is.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  TonyL
July 25, 2018 2:54 am

Better than most third world countries I have been.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 25, 2018 11:26 am

Thanks for clarifying that the place is a third world crap hole.
Compare and contrast the beautiful beaches of the DR with the beaches of the British Virgin Is., the Cayman Is., Barbados. First World tourist rules apply.

July 25, 2018 2:14 am

“Trust everyone,but cut the cards.”- Finley Peter Dunne.

John Garrett
July 25, 2018 4:09 am

We are, as usual, indebted to you for your objectivity and accuracy. As a fellow long-time Caribbean sailor (primarily the Lesser Antilles along with the East Coast of North America), I enjoy and value your experience, perspective and knowledge of the oceans and nautical matters.

“Journalism” as currently practiced by NPR, the New York Times (a/k/a “Pravda”— see Francis Menton’s “The Manhattan Contrarian” blog), the WaPo, and much of print and broadcast media is the work of frustrated, self-appointed “world savers” who are, in far too many cases, latent dictators. At heart, they are little more than professional gossips and busybodies providing little-to-no value to the larger society.

July 25, 2018 5:32 am

Literally just got back from Puerta Plata. Beaches are clean. (well, found one cup in the surf… more likely a jerk or wind blowing it in) than a bit of the great garbage patch

July 25, 2018 5:32 am

Long Beach California has the same problem. Trash coming down from the Los Angeles River shows up in the marinas at the mouth. They have a boat designed to gobble up the floating trash, but it never goes away. But then again, Long Beach isn’t “third world” (yet).

Mumbles McGuirck
July 25, 2018 5:58 am

I recently had a conversation with an acquaintance and tried to correct their misconceptions about the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”. When I explained that even if you were in the midst of it, you would be hard pressed to see anything floating in the water. Much is subsurface or microscopic. But the visual conception most people have of a ‘garbage patch’ is a near continuous raft of debris. When I made these points to my friend they seemed crestfallen, as if I’d informed them there was no Easter Bunny. Some people seem to enjoy doom and gloom.

Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
July 25, 2018 10:42 am

“Some people seem to enjoy doom and gloom.” Very many do! They will dismiss good news and embrace bad, it is really rather sad.

July 25, 2018 6:17 am

Wow! This is the kind of “rest of the story” in-depth, follow-up that’s needed for every NYT and LAT advocacy article. I would not bother with articles from HuffPo or WaPo as a waste of time.

July 25, 2018 6:20 am

Thanks for the post! My hunch is confirmed!

A couple weeks ago, I noticed the uptick in these “we are drowning in trash, we are evil” catastrophe stories.

Knowing the Communist MSM as I do, I decided to ponder what might really be going on.

I thought about beach trash. A memory crossed my mind: enjoying the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. part, and seeing trash washed up with Spanish language. A food wrapper here, and a plastic bottle of laundry detergent there. This memory is from a few years ago. Somehow, the Celeste Blue color of the plastic bottle struck me as beautiful, although I also had a thought that Mexicans somewhere were maybe throwing trash overboard when boating, or trash had blown from some bin into the Gulf.

FFW to a couple weeks ago. It occurred to me that, most likely, NEARLY ALL of this trash is NOT from the United States, BUT we Americans are the target of the guilt campaign.

Everywhere I go in urban or suburban U.S. is well-appointed with TRASH CANS. This is an odd, but admirable, feature of my nation, and culture. Finish your banana or coffee in the airport, and how far do you have to look for a trash can? They are almost within 20 feet no matter where you are!

So, if the U.S. is NOT the cause of all of this trash, why target us? Why take away MY straw? Why not target the Mexicans, the Dominicans, the Chinese?

This is a shake-down for money, and to further plant GUILT in our minds, so we are more amenable to whatever control the Progs ask for.

We already pay to manage our effluence. But most all of that is local. The Communists are going to find two ways to exploit this: funding from U.S. to battle this, across the world (like we fund U.N., NATO, and everybody else enjoys the perks), and funding to research the calamity of all of this trash.

This post helps illustrate the suspicion I had, and told my wife. I am sure there is already, somewhere, an analysis that shows where the ocean’s trash comes from. And most won’t be from U.S. – but the solutions will almost surely be: U.S. gives up control gets taxed, and funds global research.

July 25, 2018 7:07 am


Thanks, as always, for posting!

But…you neglected to report on, probably, the most important detail of all: What is the best DR cigar?

I anxiously await your response.


Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 25, 2018 7:41 am

Haha, fair enough.

My visit to Nicaragua earlier this year leads me to believe that points 1 and 2 could reasonably be contended (as a Presbyterian, I hold firmly to the “all things in moderation” lifestyle), but would have no comment on point 3.

Thanks again for the article.


spalding craft
July 25, 2018 7:59 am

One would think that the great New York Times would seek a higher standard but we’ve learned again and again and again that the NYT has intentionally corrupted itself in its climate coverage. How has such a revered institution allowed itself to morph into a tool of professional advocates.

This is pathetic behavior by a once-great institution. I guess the NYT has concluded that this type of pandering sells newspapers to idealogues and causists that constitute their target demographic. Why should I believe anything in this newspaper?

John Garrett
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 25, 2018 11:54 am

I think “journalists” these days have become akin to stockbrokers and other salespeople; they’re paid for quantity— not quality.

July 25, 2018 10:31 am

If this ‘journalist” wants dirty beaches all he has to do is go over the mountains to Haiti.

July 25, 2018 10:48 am

Thanks for the news!

John Garrett
July 25, 2018 11:41 am

Out of curiosity, I did a little internet checking on Cyrill Gutsch.

The guy is a NYC clothing designer and an obvious phony. This little stunt is basically nothing more than a marketing gambit intended to attract gullible flies to his flypaper.

The guy makes P. T. Barnum look like a piker.

July 25, 2018 5:16 pm

Thank you, Kip!
For reality and common sense and the pictures!

July 25, 2018 6:53 pm

My family went to Punta Cana for Christmas in 2016 and it was gorgeous. Let’s hope the New Yorkers believe the Times and stay away!

Reply to  Stu
July 25, 2018 11:05 pm

If the New Yorkers believe Clinton and Bloomberg, then they’ll believe anything.

July 25, 2018 10:06 pm

more here, from a self-proclaimed drunken Australian journo who also knows Santo Domingo. He says it’s crap, too, but reckons the beach is spurned by swimmers who don’t want to take a dip in the river’s 140kms of effluent.

July 26, 2018 3:46 am

Thank you very much for sharing the informative post. Wonderful place. Why does the NYT want to destroy the economy of the impoverished third world nation?

Reply to  Connie C. Robertson
July 26, 2018 11:10 am

To support the economy of the NYT? Alarm is an essential nutrient for Gen Eco.

Johann Wundersamer
July 26, 2018 6:20 am

Dominican Republic – a story bound to travel tourists on which a lot depends on their economy. Oh, the trash did not wash the Ozama, it does not rain, it does not affect the beaches.


Jobs in the city cleaning services of the communities in the Dominican Republic.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 26, 2018 7:17 am

Kip: I don’t think we’re on confronting sides of the fence.

Regards – Hans

July 26, 2018 4:08 pm

Thank you for your blog post Kip. This has been on my mind for a few days now.

As you described, it all started with Parley for the Ocean’s poorly crafted “#plasticmergency” blog and then media outlets from across the glob started to pick up the story without adding any context or actual facts. No mention of the recent storm, flooding or general issues with waste management etc. The New York Times piece though stands out as the most vile. The first 2 lines are cringe-worthy.

I also do not appreciate Parley’s social media language which makes it sound as if they are primarily responsible for the clean up efforts. They may have helped, but they should not and cannot take almost full credit for the clean up efforts. My understanding is that more than 500+ tons was cleaned up and Parley was responsible for 30 tons. Plus, I’d say the damage they’ve done in painting the country as a dump and Dominicans as lazy, dirty, ignorant people who all dump trash in our rivers and oceans is greater than what little impact they may have had with one week’s worth of getting (mostly Dominican) volunteers to clean up.

I contacted Parley for the Oceans a couple of days ago and I encourage others to do the same. They should be held accountable. Good intentions mean nothing if you they are unable to own up to mistakes and allow themselves to be held accountable.

Here is the message I sent to Parley a few days ago:

“I am saddened to see what you have done with the video footage Parley shot of the garbage in Sto Dgo after the recent storm in DR. You could have employed a more culturally competent and sensitive way of attracting attention to a very important global issue. The New York Times piece which quoted your founder saying “everybody uses the rivers and beaches as a a dumping site” was disgusting. Everybody? Really? Your media push raised awareness about plastics while also indirectly communicating to the entire world that Dominicans are trashy, backwards people that need saving. This may not have been your intent, but I think impact is far more important. Nobody cares more about this issue than Dominicans who have to live with it. (Not every Dominican, of course. Blanket statements and over-generalizations are dangerous aren’t they?) You’ve done us a great disservice and serious harm to a nation that relies on tourism. Surely there was a more responsible way to message this! I believe you owe the nation an apology.”

Thanks again!

Disclaimer: Like approx. 97% of climate scientists , I agree that climate change is real and attributable to human activity.

Gary Pearse
July 26, 2018 6:28 pm

Kip, I have a place just outside of Sosua and have visited the beautiful beaches on both the Caribbean and Atlantic sides. Why would a paper like the NYT smear a little country like this to promote the awful narratives of these mean times.

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