Over 18,000 hours of footage have captured tons of trash scattered among the Pacific Ocean’s floor. Deep sea remote operated vehicles with recorders have scoured the seafloor in search of such garbage so that researchers could get a better idea of the amount of waste at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
All along the West Coast, these remote controlled deep sea vehicles had traveled. Right of the California coast in Monterey Canyon is where the most trash had been found. The trash found consisted mostly of metal, plastic, and fishing debris. Surprisingly, Monterey Canyon has over 200 research dives a year, yet had the most trash found anywhere on the West Coast.
Along the coast of California, there were over 1,150 pieces of debris and waste materials found. Aluminum cans, plastic bags, tires, and many other such items were captured on video. It seemed as though the deeper that seafloor went, the more trash was to be found, even as far as 13,000ft.
Trash, especially plastic can harm marine life extensively. Plastic will take forever to degrade without sunlight, yet when it does; it turns into tiny particles in which the fish will consume. The petroleum based plastic can be toxic to marine life. While plastic was the most common among the trash found at 32%, metal was in second at 23%.
Batteries and other such trash which contain chemicals were found amongst the seafloor. These products can release the caustic chemicals into the water, contaminating it and harming the sea’s ecosystem.
Researchers intend to study the long-term biological effects of the trash found on the seafloor. They want to get a better understanding so that they can prevent such large amounts of trash from entering the ocean, especially if it will eventually cause great harm to marine life. As of this year, California had passed a statewide ban on plastic bags. They are hoping this will help cut down some of the waste materials that are found in the ocean as well as the environment in general.