The deep-ocean which is considered as the largest habitat for a range of aquatic life faces a heavy threat from microplastics. These are tiny plastic particles that are commonly neglected as pollution on the surface of the water have now been found to have invaded the base of the deep ocean and that too in unfathomable amounts. A report by the NPR states how this phenomenon which was passed on for occurring only on the surface as floating particles never got a proper look on their concentration in the middle and the base of the sea.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, located along the coast of California provides a unique location to test such pollution of the ocean. The bay which is formed by a deep steep just a few miles from the shore and is inhabited by white sharks and whales has its own research institute which is helping conduct the research through sophisticated machinery and robots. Ventana, a “massive underwater robot” as called by the chief scientist from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Kyle Van Houtan, is a multimillion-dollar machine which is armed with sensors, robot-arms and cameras. The machine is reportedly being sent 3000 feet deep into the bay to help find these microplastics.
The amount of plastics existing in the deep sea is said to be surpassing even the huge amounts of plastic wastes collected at the Great Pacific garbage patch, which is just another example of surface accumulation of the waste. Another shocking discovery was that this same plastic waste is circulated widely throughout the depth of the ocean beginning from the top which increases in amount once you start moving away from the shore.
This accumulation heavily affects the marine life which thrives on each other for their source of food, ending up eating the microplastics in the process. Most of the samples of deep-ocean fishes collected in the research showed traces of microplastics. The ocean problem is stated as one formed by producing plastic waste over the course of 70 years.
Jonathan is a Senior News Reporter at Detail Herald. He is a quiet personality and loves to play badminton in his free time.