For the first time ever, scientists have found traces of plastics and other manmade fibres in the stomachs of sea creatures living at the bottom of the Earth's deepest ocean.

This discovery reflects not only a world first, but also the fucking disturbing extent to the damaging influence we have had on our planet. It proves that even the remotest parts of the world's oceans have now been affected by human waste. If that isn't enough to make people ashamed, we don't know what is.

The scientists from Newcastle University tested creatures at the bottom of the Mariana Trench - known as Challenger Deep - in the western Pacific Ocean. At 10,890 metres below sea level, the trench is famous for being the deepest part of Earth's sea.

Pollution

Credit: PA

As well as focusing on the Mariana Trench, the team also tested crustaceans in the Japan, Izu-Bonin, Peru-Chile, New Hebrides and Kermadec trenches.

Of the 90 crustaceans tested in total, the scientists discovered that all had ingested some form of plastic of artificial fibre, including the plastics Nylon, PVC and PVA. These results ranged from 50 percent of affected creatures in the New Hebrides Trench to a shit-scary 100 percent in the Mariana Trench.

"There were instances where the fibres could actually be seen in the stomach contents as they were being removed," says Dr Alan Jamieson, Professor in Marine Ecology and the study's lead.

Creatures living in deep sea environments are dependent on food coming down from the surface, meaning that they will eat just about anything. Sure, you might say the same about yourself - but then you're chowing down on two-day-old pizza and your housemate's cereal, not a plastic carrier bag and an old, deflated balloon.

Plastic pollution

Credit: PA

"Once these plastics reach the deep-sea floor there is simply nowhere else for them to go, therefore it is assumed they will simply accumulate in greater quantities," Jamieson said, adding: "This is global."

Our seas are thought to now contain around 51 trillion microplastic particles. To put that into context, that's 500 times more than the number of stars in our galaxy.

Over eight million tonnes of plastic pollutes our oceans each year, and it's estimated there will be more plastic than fish by 2050.

Elena Polisano, Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace UK, told The Independent: "This isn't about irresponsible individuals littering, this is about an industry churning out trillions of single-use disposable plastic items - bags, bottles, packaging - with no thought for the consequences. We urgently need to rethink how we use plastic."

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Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman is a journalist at LADbible. Jess graduated from Manchester University with a BA in Film Studies, English Language and Literature, and has previously worked for Time Out and The Skinny among others.

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