Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Record-Breaking Diver Finds Plastic Bag in Deepest Part of Ocean

Popular
Underwater explorers say they've found plastic in deep ocean trench

An America man completed the deepest-ever solo underwater dive May 1. But when he reached the bottom of the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, he found that another representative of the human world had gotten there first: plastic.


Victor Vescovo said he found a plastic bag and candy wrappers on the sea floor, some 35,853 feet below the surface, CNN reported Tuesday.


Vescovo made the trip as part of his Five Deeps expedition, which is being filmed by the Discovery Channel. The 53-year-old financier and retired naval officer is conducting detailed sonar maps of the deepest parts of the ocean. Trips to the Atlantic Ocean's Puerto Rico Trench, the South Atlantic's South Sandwich Trench and the Java Trench in the Indian Ocean have already been completed. The details of the Mariana Trench trip were just released Monday. Finally, Vescovo will explore the Arctic's Molloy Deep this August.

"I criss-crossed all over the bottom looking for different wildlife, potentially unique geological formations or rocks, man-made objects, and yes, trying to see if there was an even deeper location than where the Trieste went all the way back in 1960," Vescovo told CNN of his most recent trip. (The Trieste was the first submersible to explore the Challenger Deep.)

In addition to the plastic, Vescovo's team think they have discovered four new species of prawn-like crustaceans, BBC News reported. However, the scientists plan to test if the animals collected have already encountered humanity in the form of microplastics. A 2017 study found microplastics in crustaceans in six of the deepest parts of the ocean, including the Mariana Trench.

Vescovo isn't the first to find plastic at the bottom of the ocean's deepest trench. A 2018 paper documented at least 3,000 pieces of litter in the trench, including a plastic bag at 36,000 feet below sea level. At least eight million tons of plastic enter the world's oceans every year, and, if this continues, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.

The previous record for a solo dive was held by Titanic Director James Cameron in 2012, CNN reported. In his new record-breaking trip, Vescovo and his team made five dives.

"It is almost indescribable how excited all of us are about achieving what we just did," he told BBC News."This submarine and its mother ship, along with its extraordinarily talented expedition team, took marine technology to a ridiculously higher new level by diving — rapidly and repeatedly — into the deepest, harshest, area of the ocean."

Reindeers at their winter location in northern Sweden on Feb. 4, 2020, near Ornskoldsvik. JONATHAN NACKSTRAND / AFP via Getty Images

Sweden's reindeer have a problem. In winter, they feed on lichens buried beneath the snow. But the climate crisis is making this difficult. Warmer temperatures mean moisture sometimes falls as rain instead of snow. When the air refreezes, a layer of ice forms between the reindeer and their meal, forcing them to wander further in search of ideal conditions. And sometimes, this means crossing busy roads.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Great Lakes, including Lake Michigan, experienced some of their warmest temperatures on record in the summer of 2020. Ken Ilio / Moment / Getty Images

Heatwaves are not just distinct to the land. A recent study found lakes are susceptible to temperature rise too, causing "lake heatwaves," The Independent reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Starfish might appear simple creatures, but the way these animals' distinctive biology evolved was, until recently, unknown. FangXiaNuo / Getty Images

By Aaron W Hunter

A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.

Read More Show Less
U.S. President Joe Biden sits in the Oval Office as he signs a series of orders at the White House in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2021. Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images

President Joe Biden officially took office Wednesday, and immediately set to work reversing some of former President Donald Trump's environmental policies.

Read More Show Less
Erik McGregor / LightRocket / Getty Images

In many schools, the study of climate change is limited to the science. But at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, students in one class also learn how to take climate action.

Read More Show Less