By NICK PERRY
Sometimes the object spotted in the water is a snarled fishing line. Or a buoy. Or something that might once have been the lid to an ice box. Not once — not yet at least — has it been a clue.
Anticipation has repeatedly turned into frustration in the search for signs of Flight 370 as objects spotted from planes in a new search area west of Australia have turned out to be garbage. Not only is the trash a time-wasting distraction for air and sea crews searching for debris from the Malaysia Airlines flight that vanished March 8, it also points to wider problems in the world's oceans.
"The ocean is like a plastic soup, bulked up with the croutons of these larger items," said Los Angeles captain Charles Moore, an environmental advocate credited with bringing attention to an ocean gyre between Hawaii and California known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which by some accounts is about the size of Texas.
The world's oceans have four more of these flotsam-collecting vortexes, Moore said, and the searchers, in an area about 1,850 kilometers (1,150 miles) west of Perth, have stumbled onto the eastern edge of a gyre in the Indian Ocean.
"It's like a toilet bowl that swirls but doesn't flush," said Moore. . . .
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