Plastic found during historic ocean dive in Mariana Trench

Cheryl Sanders
May 14, 2019

Victor Vescovo, 53, visited Challenger Deep, which is the deepest known point in the ocean in the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean on May 1, according to CNN.

As well as four new species that could offer clues about the origins of life on Earth, Vescovo observed a plastic bag and candy wrappers at the deepest point on the planet.

Vescovo and his team, in a submersible built to handle the pressure of the deep ocean, made five dives to the bottom of the trench.

Over 50 years later, Canadian explorer and filmmaker (writer and director of movies such as "Avatar" and the "Titanic") James Cameron took the first solo dive and reached a depth of 35,787 feet (10,908 m)".

"It was my objective all along to not just pursue an adventure, but also to push technology to its limit and keep advancing us all to do things that before now we thought were impossible".

At almost seven miles deep, you could fit the whole of Mount Everest into it.

A previous expedition to the depths of the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench also found plastic pollution on the sea bed. Since our dives don't have near the physical trauma associated with extreme mountain climbing, I do believe what Sir Hillary and Tenzing did was more overall more hard and certainly intense.

"I was proud and honoured to have been invited to be part of Victor's team when it made world history at Challenger Deep".

The dive was the first for The Five Deeps Expedition, funded by Vescovo, and is being filmed for a Discovery Channel documentary.

A key mission objective was to capture video evidence of what was at the bottom of the Challenger Deep, which was first explored in 1960 by oceanographers Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard in submersible called Bathyscaphe Trieste.

"It's not a big garbage-collection pool, even though it's treated as such", Vescovo said of the world's oceans.

While discovering plastic in the ocean's depths isn't new, scientists will now begin testing the creatures collected to see if they contain microplastics.

At the deepest point, they were accompanied by some transparent bottom-dwelling sea cucumbers (Holothurians) and an amphipod called the Hirondellia gigas.

The Five Deeps Expedition is exploring the planet's deepest undersea places.

"It's nearly indescribable how excited all of us are about achieving what we just did", Vescovo said.

It was chilly; it was quiet; and "it was so very peaceful", he told Live Science.

Diving isn't Vescovo's only passion- he's also a climber.

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