“Single-use plastic reached the world’s deepest ocean trench at 10,898 m,” states the study plainly, referring to that great scourge: the plastic bag. National Geographic reports that a review of the Deep-Sea Debris Database, an assemblage of photos and videos taken during roughly 5,000 dives conducted over three decades, revealed a plastic bag at the ocean’s deepest point, a depth of nearly 36,000 feet in the Mariana Trench.
“More like Mariana Trash,” quips ScienceAlert. A UN article on the study broke down the numbers: Those 5,000 dives captured more than 3,400 pieces of garbage.
While rubber, metal, and cloth were spotted, 33% of debris found was plastic, and 89% of it was from single-use products that, as the name suggests, are used once then tossed.
At depths of 20,000 feet or greater, plastic became more dominant, making up more than half the garbage, with nearly all of it being single-use. And the plastic wasn’t exclusively found in lifeless areas.
“Deep-sea organisms were observed in the 17% of plastic debris images, which include entanglement of plastic bags,” per the study, which cites sea anemones, ray-finned fish, and brittle stars seen attached on plastics.
“Entanglement of plastic bags [was] detected even in the cold seep communities and its negative impact on these rare ecosystems is [concerning],” continues the study published in Marine Policy.
As for how it got there, National Geographic references a 2017 study that found much of it enters the sea via 10 rivers that traverse population-dense areas.
(A 2-ton whale was no match for plastic bags.)
This article originally appeared on Newser: Plastic Bag Found in Truly Depressing Spot