Plastic pollution has reached the very depths of our oceans, according to data released on behalf of Sky Ocean Rescue.
A team led by scientists at Newcastle University has sampled organisms found in six of the world’s deepest ocean trenches.
Deep sea landers were sent down to depths ranging from 7,000m to almost 10,900m (over seven miles) in the Japan, Izu-Bonin, Mariana, Kermadec, New Hebrides and the Peru-Chile trenches around the Pacific Rim.
In all the locations they found plastic inside the stomachs of the shrimp-like Lysianossoidea amphipods they collected. In one of the areas 100% of the creatures tested had plastic in their gut. The lowest level of pollutants found was around 50%.
This shows that not only have plastics reached the deepest chasms of our oceans, but they are being ingested by the animals that live there.
Lead scientist Dr Alan Jamieson told Sky News: “We felt we had to do this study given the unique access we have to some of the most remote places on earth, and we are using these samples to make a poignant statement about mankind’s legacy.
“These observations are the deepest possible record of microplastic occurrence and ingestion, indicating it is highly likely there are no marine ecosystems left that are not impacted by anthropogenic debris.”
The fragments identified include semi-synthetic cellulosic fibres, such as Rayon, Lyocell and Ramie, which are all microfibres used in products such as textiles, Nylon, polyethylene, and polyamide.
Many recent surveys have created an awareness of plastic pollution in our oceans, and the effects this has on marine life.