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Posted Fri Jan 30 2009: from MauiTime Weekly (HI):
The great garbage swirl
This dry, windless area is dominated by the Northern Pacific Gyre, a wind current that encircles an area twice the size of the continental United States. This ribbon of wind traps floating debris, mostly plastic, in a perpetual clockwise swirl. Part of this massive patch sits between Hawaii and the Mainland. Rich Owen of the Environmental Cleanup Coalition, a Maui-based organization that is launching the beginnings of a cleanup effort for the area, said he first heard of the gyre from a friend. "Literally my stomach just started getting in knots," the scuba instructor says. "I felt ill."... "I actually saw a fish shit a piece of plastic when I was in Bali," he says.... Yet you can't see it in satellite photos, according to, the Web site of the organization for which Moore conducts research, because the debris is more "soup" than continent. Instead of forming a trash island, a literal wasteland on the surface, plastic fragments permeate the sea to great depths. And researchers say it doubles in size every time they go out there, which is on average every two years.
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Dean says: "I'm trying to figure out what to call it: plastic gumbo? plastic chowder? It's more than soup..."

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