Pollutants lurk in deepest ocean - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Pollutants lurk in deepest ocean

A can of spam was found in one of the deepest part of the ocean. (Source: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas) A can of spam was found in one of the deepest part of the ocean. (Source: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas)

(RNN) - Even the deepest ocean is tainted with manmade pollutants.

In a study published in Nature on Monday, "Bioaccumulation of persistent organic pollutants in the deepest ocean fauna," researchers explained that tiny sea creatures found in the world's two deepest trenches have elevated levels of pollutants Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE).

Pollutants were found across all species of amphipods - tiny, shrimplike crustaceans - sampled in the Marianas Trench in the north Pacific  and the Kermadec Trench in the south Pacific.

Researchers found "the highest levels of PCBs were 50 times more contaminated than crabs from paddy fields fed by the Liaohe River, one of the most polluted rivers in China."

The findings infer “that these pollutants are pervasive across the world’s oceans and to full ocean depth.”

Scientists said they believe the deep ocean may be serving as a potential “sink” for pollutants and litter.

Further research is needed to determine what impact this pollution is going to have on the food chain, the study said.

The Marianas Trench reaches a maximum depth of about 6.8 miles.

In a 2016 exploration of the Marianas Trench, NOAA scientists using deep-sea probes found garbage, including a plastic bag and a can of Spam.

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