Even organisms living in the deepest parts of the ocean have been infected by plastic according to a study published this week. Researchers have detected the ingestion of plastic and synthetic fibers such as nylon, polyethylene, and polyvinyl alcohol in the guts of amphipod populations.
Locations of the 6 trenches around the Pacific rim where amphipods were sampled for microplastic ingestion. The sites include the Japan, Izu-Bonin and Mariana trenches in the northwest Pacific; the New Hebrides and Kermadec trenches in the southwest Pacific & the Peru-Chile Trench in the southeast Pacific. Jamieson 2019 et al.
Samples were taken from six deep ocean trenches from around the Pacific Rim at depths up to 35,728 ft, which if you were wondering, is as deep as the Himalayas are tall.
In total, more than 72% of specimens examined in the study contained at least one microparticle of microplastic. In the leastwise polluted site sampled, researchers found that 50% of the specimens had ingested at least one piece of plastic. In the Marianas Trench, at around 6.8 miles below the surface, at the deepest place in the world, 100% of of the amphipods were found with plastic in their gut. Although plastic has previously been found at these depths, this is the first study showing that abyssal animals are actually eating plastic.