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Mariana Trench descends over 11,000 meters into our planet. A figure that Mt. Everest couldn’t even boast if you turned it upside down.
At these depths darkness prevails and not much exists, one would think. However, NOAA's Okeanos Explorer vessel searched this area in 2o16 and discovered a diversity of living creatures like jellyfish, octopus and even coral. At the bottom, 36,000 scientists also discovered..... TRASH... a grocery store plastic shopping bag to be exact. We already know that the highest peak, Mt. Everest, has a big trash problem, but to say that trash litters our planet from the highest peaks to the lowest depths is a shameful claim. According to a recent article in National Geographic “a study showed that the Mariana Trench has higher levels of overall pollution in certain regions than some of the most polluted rivers in China”. It’s the single use plastics that continue to be the most pervasive and unabated virtually everywhere. The study’s author theorized that the chemical breakdown of these plastic is what contributes to the pollution in the water column at Mariana.
While alien-like jellyfish and ghostly looking sharks have inhabited these unexplored depths has for centuries, our shopping bags and plastic trash are finding one more earthly crevice to occupy.