Even the Deepest Sea Creatures Have Plastic in Their Bodies

Q: Is there anywhere left on the planet where you can avoid plastic?

A: No. Even the deepest parts of the ocean are tainted with plastic debris.

Humans have barely begun to explore the deepest areas of the ocean, yet their presence is already being felt by deep-sea inhabitants. Researchers from New Castle University tested animals located several miles below the ocean and discovered pretty much all of them had plastic fibres in their bodies.

“There is now no doubt that plastics pollution is so pervasive that nowhere – no matter how remote – is immune,” said lead researcher Dr. Alan Jamieson.

Though it’s no secret that plastic pollution is a major problem that plagues the oceans, since a lot of the plastic seems to float on the surface, there was some hope that maybe plastic wasn’t doing as much damage way, way below the sea. However, the fragments and undetectable toxic particles that break off are indeed sinking and destroying those ecosystems, too.

Not only does the plastic make its way to the bottom, it appears to accumulate there. After all, once it gets that low, it has nowhere else to go. Moreover, because food is not plentiful at those depths, the creatures there indiscriminately eat it.

For the purposes of this study, Jamieson and his peers snagged crustaceans at some of the deepest points possible throughout the Pacific Ocean, including the Mariana Trench, which measures nearly seven miles below sea level. In all of these locations, most of the creatures had measurable amounts of plastic inside.

In some of the animals, researchers wouldn’t have needed to test for traces of plastic since large pieces of plastic were readily visible in their stomach contents.

Jamieson did not mince words about the discovery. “This study has shown that manmade microfibers are culminating and accumulating in an ecosystem inhabited by species we poorly understand, cannot observe experimentally and have failed to obtain baseline data for prior to contamination,” he said.

Although scientists already knew and have been alarmed by how much plastic can be found in sea life closer to the surface, it’s obviously all the more frustrating to realize that there’s literally no escape from it. The entire ocean is tainted, and there’s probably no way of returning the ecosystem to normal.

A century ago, humans created an indestructible product, with no idea how omnipresent and harmful it would become. We’ve made some major mistakes by allowing plastic to wind up everywhere in the ocean, and now our mission needs to be ensuring that not much more plastic gets in there in order to mitigate the damage.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

65 comments

Marie W
Marie Wabout a year ago

Thanks

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Shailja Mukhtyar
Shailja Mukhtyar1 years ago

sad sad world

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Lesa D
Past Member 1 years ago

plastic is poisoning the planet...

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ANA MARIJA R
ANA MARIJA R1 years ago

Humans... :(

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One Heart inc
Carl Rosenstock1 years ago

ThANKS!!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cABVKIPk_u0

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One Heart i
Carl Rosenstock1 years ago

Thanks!!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cABVKIPk_u0

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Elaine W
Elaine W1 years ago

Extremely disturbing. ;(

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Deborah W
Deborah W1 years ago

Scientists already knew and have been alarmed by how much plastic can be found in sea life closer to the surface. NO SHIT, AND ... Of course it’s all the more frustrating to realize that there’s literally no escape from it. The entire ocean is tainted, and without a global recognition of that single fact, and even when acknowledged, there IS NO WAY OF RETURNING THE ECOSYSTEM TO NORMAL. Too little too late, few make a lasting commitment in ways large and small to avoid future input. How sad and careless we've allowed ourselves to become ... ownership shared by all.

A century ago, humans created an indestructible product, with no idea how omnipresent and harmful it would become. We’ve made some major mistakes by allowing plastic to wind up everywhere in the ocean,

SEND
Clare O
Clare O1 years ago

damaging

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Clare O
Clare O1 years ago

dangerous

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