Ocean Trash Hinders Air France Search

(By John D. Sutter/CNN) -- The massive amount of garbage in the ocean likely complicates the search for the remains of an Air France flight that went missing Monday near Brazil, oceanographers who spoke with CNN said. Trash clutters the world's oceans.

Earlier this week, investigators said they had located pieces of the plane in the southern Atlantic Ocean, which might have given them clues to the origin of Air France Flight 447's crash.

But on Thursday, Brazilian officials said what they had found was nothing more than run-of-the-mill ocean trash.

This highlights a little-seen environmental problem: Scientists say the world's oceans are increasingly filled with junk -- everything from large items like refrigerators and abandoned yachts to small stuff like plastic bottles.

Much of the ocean trash is plastic, which means it won't go away for hundreds of years, if ever. And the problem has gotten so bad that soupy "garbage patches" have developed in several locations, called gyres, where ocean currents swirl.

One of them is estimated to be the size of Texas. Read more at ocean trash article.