A major new survey of the seafloor has found that even in the deepest ocean depths you can find bottles, plastic bags, fishing nets and other types of human litter.
The litter was found throughout the Mediterranean, and all the way from the continental shelf of Europe to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge 2,000 kilometres from land. Litter is a problem in the marine environment as it can be mistaken for food and eaten by some animals or can entangle coral and fish – a process known as “ghost fishing”.
The international study involving 15 organisations across Europe was led by the University of the Azores, and is a collaboration between the Mapping the Deep Project led by Plymouth University and the European Union-funded HERMIONE Project, coordinated by the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. Other UK project partners that contributed to the study are the University of Southampton and the British Geological Survey.
Scientists took nearly 600 samples from across the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans and in the Mediterranean Sea, from depths ranging from 35 metres to 4.5 kilometres.
Mr Christopher Pham, from the University of the Azores, said: “We found that plastic was the most common litter item found on the seafloor, while trash associated with fishing activities (discarded fishing lines and nets) was particularly common on seamounts, banks, mounds and ocean ridges. The most dense accumulations of litter were found in deep underwater canyons.”
Dr Kerry Howell, Associate Professor at Plymouth University’s Marine Institute, said: “This survey has shown that human litter is present in all marine habitats, from beaches to the most remote and deepest parts of the oceans. Most of the deep sea remains unexplored by humans and these are our first visits to many of these sites, but we were shocked to find that our rubbish has got there before us.”
Litter was located at each site surveyed, with plastic accounting for 41% and derelict fishing gear 34%. Glass and metal, wood, paper/cardboard, clothing, pottery, and unidentified materials were also observed.
Dr Eva Ramirez-Llodra, Marine Biologist from the HERMIONE project, said: “An interesting discovery was relating to deposits of clinker on the sea floor – this is the residue of burnt coal that had been dumped by steam ships from the late 18th century onwards. We have known that clinker occurs on the deep-sea bed for some time, but what we found was the accumulation of clinker is closely related with modern shipping routes, indicating that the main shipping corridors have not been altered in the last two centuries.”
The report outlines the path that plastics in particular can take, originating from coastal and land sources and being carried along continental shelves and slopes into deep water.
Dr Veerle Huvenne, Seafloor and Habitat Mapping Team Leader at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, explains: “Submarine canyons form the main connection between shallow coastal waters and the deep sea. Canyons that are located close to major coastal towns and cities, such as the Lisbon Canyon offshore Portugal, or the Blanes Canyon offshore Barcelona, can funnel litter straight to water depths of 4,500m or more.”
Dr Howell added: “The large quantity of litter reaching the deep ocean floor is a major issue worldwide. Our results highlight the extent of the problem and the need for action to prevent increasing accumulation of litter in marine environments.”
The Latest on: Marine litter
via Google News
The Latest on: Marine litter
- New Aqaba recycling machines give coupon points for conservation effortson January 22, 2020 at 4:00 pm
The recycling machines initiative, run in cooperation with Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, is part of a project launched at the beginning of 2019 by JREDS and the UNDP, according to Outreach ...
- Let’s talk trash: Litter is a problem for Florida’s environment — but you can helpon January 22, 2020 at 11:12 am
Events like International Coastal Cleanup Day help, as a previous outing removed more than 23 million pounds of marine litter over 22,000 coastal miles, Rice said. But there’s still an estimated 150 ...
- 190 tonnes of marine litter taken from sea last yearon January 21, 2020 at 11:44 pm
190 tonnes of marine litter, including nets, plastic and wood was taken from the sea by Irish fishermen last year. More than 230 vessels from are now involved in the voluntary ‘Fishing for Litter’ ...
- Plastic pollution entangles marine lifeon January 16, 2020 at 2:23 pm
The increasing presence of plastics in the Caribbean Sea has created an environment rife with unnatural perils for marine life. In Cayman, the public has been gripped by stories of turtle and shark ...
- Primary pupils tackle Kintyre’s marine litter with GRAB Trust’s Kerryon January 16, 2020 at 1:22 am
The GRAB Trust’s new beaches and marine litter project education manager for Mid Argyll and Kintyre has joined forces with the area’s primary pupils to tackle rubbish. Kerry MacKay, who joined the ...
- In search for the sources of plastic marine litter that contaminates the Easter Island Ecoregionon December 22, 2019 at 4:00 pm
However, this approximation does not consider potentially important pathways of marine litter operating at shorter timescales (seasonal, or multiyears) and assumes that plastic litter accumulates ...
- Sea Cleaners’ marine litter collection programmeon December 19, 2019 at 2:27 am
This year the grant helped us collect around 636,650 litres of marine litter from the wider Hauraki Gulf and Kaipara Harbour. “We have also engaged with over 5,000 high school students during ...
- Whale found dead with 100kg ‘litter ball’ in stomachon December 2, 2019 at 8:38 pm
NEW DELHI: Fishing nets, ropes, bags, plastic cups, and gloves are just some of the items that have been found in the stomach of a sperm whale stranded on a beach. The whale was found dead on the ...
- Sperm whale dies on Scottish beach with 100kg 'litter ball' in its stomachon December 2, 2019 at 4:52 am
"This amount of plastic in the stomach is nonetheless horrific, must have compromised digestion, and serves to demonstrate yet again the hazards that marine litter and lost or discarded fishing ...
- Sperm whale found dead with 100kg ball of litter inside its stomach in Outer Hebrideson December 2, 2019 at 4:09 am
"This amount of plastic in the stomach is nonetheless horrific, must have compromised digestion, and serves to demonstrate, yet again, the hazards that marine litter and lost or discarded fishing ...
via Bing News