06 May 2014

Benthic litter

Garbage created by humans ("anthropogenic litter") is now apparent even in the deepest parts of the ocean.  In the composite image above, the “Uncle Benn's Express Rice” packet was photographed at a depth of 967 m. (National Oceanography Centre, UK)
We found litter to be present in the deepest areas and at locations as remote from land as the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone across the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The highest litter density occurs in submarine canyons, whilst the lowest density can be found on continental shelves and on ocean ridges. Plastic was the most prevalent litter item found on the seafloor...

Plastics are a source of toxic chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins that can be lethal to marine fauna. Furthermore, the degradation of plastics generates microplastics which, when ingested by organisms, can deliver contaminants across trophic levels... Contrary to a common notion that most plastic items float at the sea surface it has been estimated that 70% of the plastic sinks to the seafloor...
More discouraging details on the trashing of our oceans at PLOS ONE.


  1. This makes me feel sick. I truly fear for the future of this planet. We have polluted, poisoned, fouled, deforested, killed so many animals into extinction, filled the air with noxious gasses and so much more. What kind of a world are we leaving for our grandchildren?

  2. At best, under the most optimum of conditions, only 15% of any oil spill is recovered.


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