The Mariana Trench is known as the deepest, and least explored places in the world, with only three people in the history of mankind ever making it to the bottom. However, even places this remote are not exempt from pollution.
A team of researchers from the University of Newcastle were tasked with studying the Trench when they discovered a new species of crustacean 7km below the surface of the ocean. While finding a new species is a feat in itself, what they found inside the belly of the new crustacean surprised them the most.
The research team named their discovery ‘Eurythenes Plasticus’ because upon studying the five centimeters long creature, they encountered large amounts of plastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET) inside the body of crustacean. The Eurythenes Plasticus is now one of 240 known species to have been recorded ingesting plastic.
Eurythenes Plasticus: This new new species was found in the earth’s deepest trench and was named after the plastic found in its gut. 😳
— No Plastic Waste (@No_PlasticWaste) March 7, 2020
The PET found inside Eurythenes Plasticus resembles 83 percent of the plastic used in the production of water bottles, textile fibres and film. The fact that plastic waste was able to not only reach these extreme depths, but also be eaten by previously undiscovered animals is a stark reminder of the state our oceans are currently in.
“With this name, we want to send a strong signal against marine pollution,” said the head of the research team, Alan Jamieson. The researchers wanted “to make it clear that we urgently need to do something about the plastic flood.”