Quantcast

Plastic Bag Found at the Bottom of the World's Deepest Waters

Popular
Map of Western Pacific Ocean, showing location of Mariana Trench. USGS

Man-made trash has sunk to new depths. A recent paper published in the journal Marine Policy details the staggering amount of plastic and other debris found at the bottom of the world's deepest ocean trench.

At least 3,000 pieces of litter, with some dating back 30 years, can be found in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench.


This information was obtained by researchers combing through the Deep-sea Debris Database operated by the Global Oceanographic Data Centre of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC).

This vast online catalogue, which launched for public use in March 2017, contains photos and videos of debris collected by deep-sea submersibles and remotely operated vehicles from more than 5,000 dives.

According to the paper, authored by JAMSTEC researchers, more than 33 percent of the observed debris is macro-plastic, of which 89 percent was single-use products. The deepest record is a plastic bag at 36,000 feet in the Mariana Trench.

Unfortunately, the researchers observed how some of this plastic has impacted marine life on the ocean floor.

"Deep-sea organisms were observed in the 17 percent of plastic debris images, which include entanglement of plastic bags on chemosynthetic cold seep communities," the study authors wrote.

Other types of waste that can be found at such oceanic depths include metal, rubber, fishing gear, glass and other man-made items.

"The data show that, in addition to resource exploitation and industrial development, the influence of land-based human activities has reached the deepest parts of the ocean in areas more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) from the mainland," the authors noted.

In the video below, JAMSTEC's executive director for science Yoshihisa Shirayama explains how plastic in the ocean and climate change are noticeable examples of humanity's negative environmental footprint.

He suggested limiting the immense amount of plastics that enter our waters as well as limiting carbon dioxide emissions to help fight ocean acidification.

"Anything we can do for the good of the environment will also help the deep sea environment and deep sea creatures," Shirayama concluded.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pick one of these nine activism styles, and you can start making change. YES! Illustrations by Delphine Lee

By Cathy Brown

Most of us have heard about UN researchers warning that we need to make dramatic changes in the next 12 years to limit our risk of extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty caused by climate change. Report after report about a bleak climate future can leave people in despair.

Read More Show Less
Jamie Grill Photography / Getty Images

Losing weight, improving heart health and decreasing your chances for metabolic diseases like diabetes may be as simple as cutting back on a handful of Oreos or saying no to a side of fries, according to a new study published in the journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
A boy gives an impromptu speech about him not wanting to die in the next 10 years during the protest on July 15. The Scottish wing of the Extinction Rebellion environmental group of Scotland locked down Glasgow's Trongate for 12 hours in protest of climate change. Stewart Kirby / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

It's important to remember that one person can make a difference. From teenagers to world-renowned scientists, individuals are inspiring positive shifts around the world. Maybe you won't become a hard-core activist, but this list of people below can inspire simple ways to kickstart better habits. Here are seven people advocating for a better planet.

Read More Show Less
A group of wind turbines in a field in Banffshire, Northeast Scotland. Universal Images Group / Getty Images

Scotland produced enough power from wind turbines in the first half of 2019, that it could power Scotland twice over. Put another way, it's enough energy to power all of Scotland and most of Northern England, according to the BBC — an impressive step for the United Kingdom, which pledged to be carbon neutral in 30 years.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Beekeeper Jeff Anderson works with members of his family in this photo from 2014. He once employed all of his adult children but can no longer afford to do so. CHRIS JORDAN-BLOCH / EARTHJUSTICE

By Jessica A. Knoblauch

It's been a particularly terrible summer for bees. Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is allowing the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor back on the market. And just a few weeks prior, the USDA announced it is suspending data collection for its annual honeybee survey, which tracks honeybee populations across the U.S., providing critical information to farmers and scientists.

Read More Show Less

tommaso79 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Rachel Licker

As a new mom, I've had to think about heat safety in many new ways since pregnant women and young children are among the most vulnerable to extreme heat.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

It's easy to get confused about which foods are healthy and which aren't.

Read More Show Less