Plastics have contaminated the most deep and remote places on earth. Millions of tons of plastics are dumped into the world’s oceans, where it all ends up has not been well known. Researchers looking in the deepest parts of the Ocean, the Mariana Trench, found levels of microplastics higher than any other place in the open ocean.
Recent studies have shown the impact of pollution in the Mariana Trench, with extremely high levels of pollutants and plastics being found in stomachs of animals in the deep. Microplastics have been found in salt, tap water and human feces.
Published in Geochemical Perspectives Letters, researchers found concentrations of microplastics increased as they pulled samples from deeper in the trench. When they reached the bottom they found a maximum of 2,200 pieces of plastic per litre in sediments and 13 pieces of plastic per litre of water. Water and sediment samples were collected from 2,500m to 11,000m below sea level.
Most of the microplastics were fibres likely from clothing, packaging and fishing gear.