The ocean is a miraculous body of water that provides enjoyment for young and old, and it’s safe to say that beaches across the world are amongst the most loved places for vacation and simple enjoyment. But, like most things in the world, we take the ocean for granted and many don’t think twice before they toss a piece of trash on the beach, only so it can get blown into the waters and sink to the bottom, greatly affecting sea life along the way.
A recent discovery made it clear just how much we need to start paying attention to the environment or we are going to continue to wreak havoc on nature.
A plastic bag was uncovered by divers 36,000 feet below the surface of the Pacific in the Mariana Trench, which is known as the world’s deepest ocean trench. This find is one of 3,000 bits of man-made debris found by researchers while they were studying records of deep pollution going back 30 years. As a result, environmental experts are warning the public about the true horror that plastic pollution places on our world’s oceans.
In order to make the discovery, scientists trawled global data, images, and footage. To put into perspective just how far below the bag was found below the ocean’s surface, scientists compared it to being deeper than 33 Eiffel towers, laid tip to base.
It took 5,010 dives and debris information gathered by a variety of international teams working around the world and deep-sea submersibles and remote vehicles were used in the process. Amongst the debris found below the ocean’s surface, the plastic bag was considered the deepest and most extreme example of the findings.
Information from the Deep-sea Debris Database was used by scientists from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) in Yokosuka. JAMSTEC launched it for public use in 2017. The majority of the debris found was macro-plastic and 89% of that was from single-use products. This certainly makes us think twice before tossing a plastic cup onto the beach after a friendly gathering. These products wreak havoc on the waters and the sea life and are ultimately found 20,000 feet below the ocean surface.
Not only does this plastic pollution sink to the bottom of the ocean, but it also spreads further into the middle of the oceans. One piece was found over 620 miles from the nearest coast. To put this in perspective, that measurement is further than the length of France.
The widespread distribution of single-use plastic, even to the greatest depths of the ocean, reveals a clear link between daily human activities and the most remote of environments, according to experts. The only solution to this problem is the reduction of plastic production waste. Experts believe that there should be a global monitoring network put in place to share this limited data on the deep-sea plastic problem.
This plastic pollution directly affects deep-sea organisms which were observed in the study, in turn making it even more pressing to activate a plan for preventing plastic from littering our oceans.