Plastic Debris Could Make Remote Pacific Island a Superfund Site

Tiny Tern Island, a 25-acre strip of land in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that has been inundated with marine debris, could become a Superfund cleanup site if the Center for Biological Diversity gets its way.

The environmental group filed a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last December asking it to designate the entire Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and parts of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — a giant, floating repository of tiny plastics in the middle of the Pacific — as Superfund sites.

The EPA hasn't agreed to consider the entire area — the island chain is one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world. But it will be conducting an environmental study on Tern Island, a World War II military landing site and one of the chain's 10 islands.

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