Natalia Welzenbach-Marcu | November 16, 2017
Recent studies have unearthed the unsettling fact that at this point in time even deep, supposedly remote areas of Earth are polluted with plastic.
Academics in Newcastle University studied a variety of deep-sea crustaceans from the Pacific Ocean and found traces of plastic fiber in their stomachs. The samples were gathered not just from the Mariana Trench, but from a wide swath of trenches off the coast of South Africa and East Asia. The deepest area sampled was the Mariana Trench’s Challenger Deep–roughly 10,890 meters below the surface of the ocean, making these samples the deepest ever found. 100% of the crustaceans from the Mariana Trench were contaminated with plastic.
The study raises concerns about the pervasiveness of pollution. Two months prior to this case, a study conducted by Orb Media gathered drinking water samples from dozens of countries. The findings revealed that around 83% of our drinking water is contaminated by small plastic particles.
Scientists at Newcastle worry that no ecosystem has been left untouched by pollution and man made waste, and the complexity of deep-sea biology makes solving this problem even more difficult. Plastics are not biodegradable; there is o current way to make the petroleum product completely harmless. Efforts to conserve the ocean with organized cleanups and an increased focus on recycling and re-purposing the harmful material are some of the first steps forward towards a cleaner environment.