The deepest marine organisms known to humans are contaminated by plastics, according to a study published Wednesday.
Researchers presented “the deepest record of microplastic ingestion, indicating it is highly likely there are no marine ecosystems left that are not impacted by plastic pollution,” according to the paper in Royal Society Open Science.
Led by Alan Jamieson, a marine ecologist at Newcastle University, the team examined the guts of small organisms called lysianassid amphipods—colloquially known as “sea fleas”—collected from six deep ocean habitats.
Though the trenches ranged in location from Japanese to Chilean waters, all of them were within the “hadal zone,” meaning they were at least 6,000 meters under the sea. The study even includes amphipods collected at Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, which is the lowest known point in the seabed at 10,890 meters below the ocean surface.
Humanity has created more than 9 billion tons of plastic since the 1950s, when large-scale production of the material first took off. Of that total, a staggering 76 percent has gone to waste. These days, plastics are found in most table salt, marine life and the deepest parts of the ocean. So it any surprise that they have made it into our bodies, too? A small study has detected microplastics in human excrement for the first time, raising larger questions about how the tiny particles can affect our health.
According to a new study that observed sea, rock and lake salts, 90 percent of the table saltbrands sold around the world contain microplastics. Several years ago, researchers discovered that microplastics were in sea salt, but no one was certain just how extensive the problem was until now.
Plastic trash is littering the land and fouling rivers and oceans. But what we can see is only a small fraction of what’s out there. Since modern plastic was first mass-produced, 8 billion tons have been manufactured. And when it’s thrown away, it doesn’t just disappear. Much of it crumbles into small pieces.
Apple is likely to stop producing iPhone X smartphones, according to Mirabaud analyst Neil Campling. The oversupply of chips and high prices are the reason, he says.