Author: Bhanu Sridharan
Plastic water bottles and snack-food packaging have made their way to the deepest parts of the world’s oceans, drifting to depths of nearly 11,000 meters (36,100 feet), according to a new study published in Marine Policy.
Sanae Chiba, the study’s lead author and a scientist at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), said she was unsurprised by the discovery.
“The finding of deep-sea plastic itself is not really new but it is recent[ly] that we realised plastic debris are ubiquitous not only [at the] surface … but also bottom of the deep sea,” she said.
JAMSTEC has for years deployed manned submersibles and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to survey the ocean floor. Chiba and her colleagues revisited footage collected between 1984 and 2014 from locations in the North and South Pacific — including the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the world’s ocean — the Indian Ocean, and the Atlantic Ocean. All the videos collected are archived online at the Deep-sea Debris Database (DsDD).
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