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Group seeks Superfund status for Northwest Hawaiian isles

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 9:00 p.m. HST, Dec 12, 2012

Plastic trash is prompting an environmental group to petition the federal government to name the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands one of the most contaminated places in the country.

The Center for Biological Diversity is asking the Environmental Protection Agency to designate the islands and surrounding waters a Superfund site. 

Currents continually carry plastic debris from around the Pacific Ocean to the string of largely unpopulated atolls.

Center attorney Emily Jeffers said Tuesday plastic bags, bottles and other “toxic litter” pollute the area. She says this trash is deadly to seals, birds and other marine life. 

The EPA’s Superfund program addresses abandoned hazardous waste sites. Most are former industrial sites. 

The EPA says it has received the petition and is looking into it.

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