Recent testing on crustaceans similar to shrimps that inhabit over six miles underneath the waters of the Pacific Ocean, in the Mariana Trench, portray significantly high levels of pollutants known to cause cancer, banned years ago
“We still think of the deep ocean as being this remote and pristine realm, safe from human impact, but our research shows that, sadly, this could not be further from the truth,” Alan Jamieson of the Newcastle University said. He co-authored the study published this week Nature Ecology & Evolution, a scientific journal.
Theories Surrounding How It Got There
Researchers believe the pollutants most likely came as a result of plastic waste in addition to dead animals falling into the ocean.
“[These chemicals] don’t like water, and so they will stick to things in the water like plastic, and then that plastic will settle,” stated the other author, Stuart Piertney, from the University of Aberdeen. “Because these deep-sea trenches are the very bottom of the sink for the oceans, there’s a sort of inevitability that they’re going to end up there.”
The team of two scientists used an underwater lander machine to collect crustaceans dwelling in the bottom of the Mariana and Kermadec Trench floors for testing.
Toxins and Pollutants
The results revealed very high levels of various pollutants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which have been banned in the US for around 40 years ago due to their cancer-causing capabilities.
“The fact that we found such extraordinary levels of these pollutants in one of the most remote and inaccessible habitats on Earth really brings home the long-term, devastating impact that mankind is having on the planet,” Jamieson said.
These trenches are of the ocean’s deepest location, less-known than the surface of Earth’s moon. The extremely high pressure there results in a completely different set of life existing there than on high water levels or land.