Single-use plastic has reached the world’s deepest ocean trench

Date: April 20, 2018

Source: UN Environment 

A new study has revealed that human activities are affecting the deepest part of the ocean, more than 1,000 kilometers from the mainland.

Plastic pollution is emerging as one of the most serious threats to ocean ecosystems. World leaders, scientists and communities recognize the urgent need for action, but the impacts of plastic pollution are not well understood.

To raise awareness of the far-reaching effects of plastic pollution, ocean scientists – including those from UN Environment’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre – crunched numbers from the Deep-sea Debris Database. The Global Oceanographic Data Centre of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology launched this database for public use in 2017. It contains over 30 years of photos and videos of debris that have been collected by deep-sea submersibles and remotely operated vehicles.

The data revealed that, from 5,010 dives, more than 3,000 pieces of manmade debris – including plastic, metal, rubber and fishing gear – were counted. Over a third of debris found was macro-plastic, 89 per cent of which was single-use products. In areas deeper than 6000m, over half of debris was plastic, almost all of which was single-use.

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