Environment

Trashing the Seafloor

In their 25 years of exploring the deep seafloor, researchers with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California have discovered trash and debris littering the floor of the Pacific Ocean. Most of the garbage was recyclables such as plastic bottles, soda and food cans. But plastic bags, shoes and even shipping containers make their way to the deep ocean depths, 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) below the surface.

More than half of the plastic items were bags. A deep-sea coral living nearly 7,000 feet (2,115 meters) off the Oregon Coast had a black plastic bag wrapped around its base, which will eventually kill the organism.

Trash 3 intro bag coral

The second biggest source of ocean trash was metal — soda and food cans. Other common types of debris included rope from fishing equipment, glass bottles, cardboard, wood and clothing.

Because most of the ocean pollution came from single-use plastic bottles and cans, it is hoped the research will inspire more people to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Trash 9 rope 350

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