Removed from the stomachs of tiny monsters, these plastic particles are a dismal indicator of how widespread plastic pollution is.
Plastic particles happen to be found in the bowels of tiny animals living at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. This trench is the deepest point on Earth, and the discovery that plastic has invaded here has led scientists to conclude that there is likely “no marine ecosystems left that are not impacted by plastic pollution.”
In a research just published by the Royal Society Open Science journal, researchers explain how they baited, captured, and dissected creatures from six locations of over 6,000 meters (3.7 miles) in thickness — the Peru-Chile trench in the southeast Pacific, the New Hebrides and Kermadec trenches in the southwest Pacific, and the Japan trench, Izu-Bonin trench and Mariana trench in the northwest Pacific.
The critters studied were amphipods, crustaceans associated with shrimp and crabs which scavenge on the seabed. The research workers found who 72 percentage of the absolute trials contained plastic fibers and fragments in their bowels. From the Atlantic‘s writeup:
“In the least contaminated of these sites, half of the amphipods had swallowed at least one piece of plastic. In the 6.8-mile-deep Mariana Trench, the lowest point in almost any sea, all of the specimens had plastic in their gut.”