Trash found littering ocean floor in deepest-ever sub dive

Trash found littering ocean floor in deepest-ever sub dive

In a startling discovery, Texas investor and explorer Victor Vescovo has found plastic objects almost 6.8 miles (35,853 feet/10,928 metres) in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench.

Vescovo's team discovered four potentially new species of prawn-like crustaceans called amphipods, a spoon worm at 7,000 meters and a pink snailfish at 8,000 meters.

In the depths, during those five dives, they discovered red and yellow rocky outcrops that could be chemical deposits or bacterial mats, which are made by chemosynthetic microbes, meaning they can convert carbon-containing molecules into organic matter.

"It is nearly indescribable how excited all of us are about achieving what we just did", said Vescovo in a statement emailed to IFLScience.

He explained the expedition "took marine technology to a ridiculously higher new level by diving - rapidly and repeatedly - into the deepest, harshest, area of the ocean".

Lahey said the Limiting Factor "represents a quantum leap in the capabilities of a manned submersible and everyone at Triton is immensely proud to have had the privilege and opportunity to create such a remarkable craft, which was only possible by the unwavering support and vision of Victor Vescovo".

The expedition team notes in the press release that the next stop on the Five Deeps Expedition is the Horizon Deep in the South Pacific Ocean.

Vescovo dove in a submersible called the Limiting Factor, now the world's deepest-diving operational submarine. After Vescovo's record-breaking dive, other team members took four other subsequent dives to the trench.

He found sea creatures, but also found a plastic bag and sweet wrappers.

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Plastic waste has reached epidemic proportions in the world's oceans, with an estimated 100 million tonnes dumped there to date, according to the United Nations.

Eventually Vescovo could see the bottom through one of the acrylic portholes in the titanium hull and brought The Limiting Factor to rest on the ocean floor.

"Personally being able to make the dive was just absolutely exhilarating", Vescovo told ABC News.

Before now, the Five Deeps Expedition surveyed the Puerto Rico Trench in the Atlantic Ocean, and the South Sandwich and Java Trenches in the Indian Ocean.

The Molloy Deep has yet to be explored, and Vescovo's team will be there in August, according to CNN.

Diving isn't Vescovo's only passion- he's also a climber.

Before Cameron's dive, the first-ever expedition to Challenger Deep was made in 1960 by the U.S. Navy, which reached a depth of 10,912 metres.

Previous studies have identified microplastics in the water we drink and the fish we eat, as well as researchers finding it in Antarctica's pristine waters.

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