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Source: ISTOCK

Researchers Discovered Microplastics in Animals in the Ocean's Deepest Trenches

By Sophie Hirsh

With so many eco-conscious people reducing their plastic use, you'd think the whole plastic pollution thing would be getting better. But unfortunately, the issue actually seems to be getting worse. According to a study published today, Wednesday, Feb. 27, microplastics were discovered in the bodies of more than 72 percent of marine animals dwelling at the deepest depths of the ocean. With plastic having reached the very bottom of the ocean, it's clear that we need to do a lot more if we want to see plastic-free oceans in our lifetime. 

The study, published by the journal Royal Society Open Science, is titled, "Microplastics and synthetic particles ingested by deep-sea amphipods in six of the deepest marine ecosystems on Earth." For the study, the researchers collected 90 Lysianassoidea amphipods, which are a family of marine crustaceans, from six marine ecosystems along the Pacific Rim (specifically from Japan, Izu-Bonin, Mariana, Kermadec, New Hebrides, and the Peru-Chile trenches). The crustaceans were found living at various depths, ranging from 7,000 meters deep to 10,890 meters deep.

Out of the 90 crustaceans examined, researchers found anywhere from one to eight pieces of microplastic or microfibers in 65 of them — that's 72 percent of the sample. The matter found was a combination of microplastics and microfibers, either from a plastic-based fiber (such as nylon), a semi-synthetic fiber (such as lyocell), or a natural fiber (such as ramie).