Here’s what’s lurking in the deep dark sea
They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, but we have a feeling the fish would disagree.
In early June, researchers from the University of Aberdeen revealed their truly astonishing findings on what is lurking in some of the deepest and most remote areas of the world’s oceans. Beyond the mystifying jellyfish and monster-like, bus-sized squid living thousands of feet below the surface, researchers also found high chemical concentrations of the carbon-based compound POPs (persistent organic pollutants) used to make plastics and flame retardants,” Nature reports.
The team, using unmanned devices, traveled into two seperate trenches: the Mariana Trench, known as the deepest point in the ocean, and the Kermadec Trench near New Zealand. There, the team collected samples of amphipods—small shell-less crustaceans—at a depth of 22,000-32,000 feet, Discover Magazine reports.
The team found “significant” levels of chemicals, including POPs and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) inside the tiny bodies of these deep-sea dwellers. What may be even more alarming is the fact that PCBs have been banned for nearly four decades in most countries.
For now, scientists plan to continue to study and observe the impact of these chemicals on deep sea life. But just because our waste has landed in a place we will never see doesn’t mean we should ignore the problem.
As National Geographic suggests, there are plenty of things you can do right now to help stave off the effects of human waste on our world’s oceans including reducing your use of one-time use plastics (like straws, bottled water and coffee cup tops), avoid purchasing items that contribute to marine loss (such as coral jewelry and shark teeth), and by continuing to educate yourself on all the wonderful creatures who call the sea their home.