BBC Documentary – Planet Plastic
Environmental Correspondent David Shukman shows how plastic not only looks bad, but become part of the food chain underwater from breaking down to very small particles that is a magnet for toxic chemicals.
Sea creatures in Mariana Trench (the deepest place on Earth) have plastic in their stomachs
Researchers used the same deep-diving technology as BBC Blue Planet II filmmakers to find evidence of plastic in deep ocean organisms
CREDIT: NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY Sea creatures living in the deepest part of the ocean have been found with man-made fibres in their stomachs for the first time, showing that no part of the world’s seas are now untouched by human rubbish.
Scientists from Newcastle University discovered that every single crustacean surveyed at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, a six mile deep schism in the Pacific Ocean, had debris in its body.
The team used the same deep-diving technology which was recently used to film the remarkable footage of the trench for the BBC’s new natural history series Blue Planet II.
Man-made fibres and plastic found in the deepest living organisms
Animals from six of the deepest places on Earth found to contain man-made fibres and plastic in their stomachs, scientists have shown.
A study, led by Newcastle University’s Dr Alan Jamieson, has uncovered evidence that not only have plastics now reached the deepest chasms of our oceans but they are being ingested by the animals that live there.
Revealing their findings today 15th November as part of Sky Ocean Rescue – a campaign to raise awareness of how plastics and pollution are affecting our seas – the team tested samples of crustaceans found in the ultra-deep trenches that span the entire Pacific Ocean – the Mariana, Japan, Izu-Bonin, Peru-Chile, New Hebrides and Kermadec trenches.
These range from seven to over 10 kilometres deep, including the deepest point, Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, at a staggering 10,890 metres deep.
Earth is becoming ‘Planet Plastic’
US scientists have calculated the total amount of plastic ever made and put the number at 8.3 billion tonnes.
It is an astonishing mass of material that has essentially been created only in the last 65 years or so.
The 8.3 billion tonnes is as heavy as 25,000 Empire State Buildings in New York, or a billion elephants.
The great issue is that plastic items, like packaging, tend to be used for very short periods before being discarded.
More than 70% of the total production is now in waste streams, sent largely to landfill – although too much of it just litters the wider environment, including the oceans.
“We are rapidly heading towards ‘Planet Plastic’, and if we don’t want to live on that kind of world then we may have to rethink how we use some materials, in particular plastic,” Dr Roland Geyer told BBC News.