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Plastic Bag Found in Deepest Part of the Ocean

Sea turtle swimming in the ocean with a plastic bag in its mouth.

About 70 percent of earth is covered by water, from shallow creeks to the depths of the oceans. The deepest known location in all of these is found in the western Pacific Ocean, in a section called the Mariana Trench. If you sank from the surface, you would fall around 36,000 feet, or around 11,000 meters. After falling for almost 7 miles, you would reach the area known as Challenger Deep (and you would also be crushed by the pressure.)

Challenger Deep has only been visited by humans a few times, most famously by director James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar, Terminator 2). Recently, humans have returned to the area and reached deeper than ever before, if only by a few meters. You can see Victor Vescovo‘s dive below.

They discovered new species of shrimp, and collected rock samples, but they also found evidence of humans that likely originated thousands of miles away: a plastic bag. Yes, our plastic reach now officially extends to the deepest part of the ocean floor. If you thought plastic just goes to a dump or gets recycled, well that isn’t always the case. Plastic wastes have made their way to all parts of the globe.

Plastics can take around 1000 years to decompose, so all of those pieces sinking to our ocean floors, and floating on the surface, will be around for future generations to find, and hopefully collect. It is a lot easier to clean trash on the worlds tallest mountain than it will be to de-pollute the deepest point on earth.

Do what you can to reduce (the most important part!), reuse, and recycle your plastics, so that our and future generations, along with plants and animals, won’t have to be buried under our own waste products.

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