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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marine scientists from California are venturing this week to the middle of the North Pacific for a study of plastic debris accumulating across hundreds of miles (km) of open sea dubbed the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch."
The debris ends up concentrated by circular, clockwise ocean currents within an oblong-shaped "convergence zone" hundreds of miles (km) across from end to end near the Hawaiian Islands, about midway between Japan and the West Coast of the United State
Besides the potential harm to sea life caused by ingesting bits of plastic, the expedition team will look at whether the particles could carry other pollutants, such as pesticides, far out to sea, and whether tiny organisms attached to the debris could be transported to distant regions and thus become invasive species.