Mankind’s toxic pollution has reached the ocean’s deepest and darkest depths
Scientists have detected “extremely high levels” of organic chemicals in the fatty tissue of amphipods.
They’re a type of crustacean that lives in Mariana trench which is considered the deepest part of the world’s oceans.
This discovery further shows how highly connected our planet is.
Alan Jamieson, a marine ecologist at Newcastle University in Britain and an author, said in a statement that humans believe that the ocean, especially deep parts of it, is a far removed and untouched part of the world, far away from human interference and influence.
However, this is not true, he added, as shown by research.
The study was published on Monday in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. According to researchers who have published it, this provides evidence that pollutants manufactured by humans have found their way to the planet’s most remote areas.
Jamieson’s team deployed landers to the Kermadec, which is a shallower trench in the South Pacific Ocean than the Mariana, which is an almost 7-mile deep trench in the North Pacific Ocean.
The team discovered that the Amphipods collected from both locations were found to contain astonishing levels of insistent organic pollutants.
According to the findings, the contaminants include industrial polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl (PBDEs).
They were found in all samples in all species in all depths in both trenches, their levels were substantially higher than those documented in areas close to heavy industrialization.
One of the most disturbing find was that the levels of PCBs that were detected in Mariana trench were at concentrations 50 times higher than that of crabs from China’s heavily polluted Liaohe River. PCBs are compounds that were commonly used in electrical equipment until the 1970s when they were banned.
The most logical explanation, according to the researchers, to cause a buildup of these toxic compounds in such remote areas is that plastic waste and contaminated dead animals that were at the surface sank through the water column. Once they got to the bottom, they were eaten by deep-sea species.
Jamieson explained that the findings clearly show the long term and devastating impact humankind has on the planet, our legacy is not a good one. “We’re very good at taking an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach when it comes to the deep ocean but we can’t afford to be complacent,” he added.