Man makes deepest ocean dive ever – only to find plastic rubbish on the sea floor
Diver who descended almost seven miles laments sea being treated as ‘big garbage collection pool’
An American explorer has completed the deepest ocean dive in history – and discovered plastic waste littering the sea floor 6.8 miles down.
Victor Vescovo’s submarine descended 35,853ft (10,928m) to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench, the most remote place in the seas.
The retired naval officer found undiscovered species including shrimp-like anthropods and translucent “sea pigs” during four hours exploring the sea bed.
He also saw manmade rubbish – including a plastic bag, sweet wrappers and angular metal objects – in a place no human had ever been before.
“It was very disappointing to see obvious human contamination of the deepest point in the ocean,” Mr Vescovo said.
Plastic waste has reached epidemic proportions in the world’s oceans, with an estimated 100 million tonnes dumped in the sea, according to the United Nations.
Scientists have found large amounts of micro plastic in the guts of deep-dwelling ocean mammals such as whales.
Mr Vescovo hoped his unsettling discovery in the Mariana Trench would raise awareness about dumping waste in the oceans and pressure governments to strengthen or better enforce regulations.
“It’s not a big garbage collection pool, even though it’s treated as such,” he said.
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