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Trash found littering ocean floor in deepest-ever sub dive

Updated : 2019-05-14 10:26:36

On the deepest dive ever made by a human inside a submarine, a Texas investor and explorer found something he could have found in the gutter of nearly any street in the world: trash. Victor Vescovo, a retired naval officer, said he made the unsettling discovery as he descended nearly 6.8 miles (35,853 feet/10,928 meters) to a point in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench that is the deepest place on Earth. His dive went 52 feet (16 meters) lower than the previous deepest descent in the trench in 1960. Vescovo found undiscovered species as he visited places no human had gone before. On one occasion he spent four hours on the floor of the trench, viewing sea life ranging from shrimp-like anthropods with long legs and antennae to translucent "sea pigs" similar to a sea cucumber. He also saw angular metal or plastic objects, one with writing on it. "It was very disappointing to see obvious human contamination of the deepest point in the ocean," Vescovo said in an interview. Plastic waste has reached epidemic proportions in the world's oceans with an estimated 100 million tonnes dumped there to date, according to the United Nations. Scientists have found large amounts of microplastic in the guts of deep-dwelling ocean mammals like whales.

Undersea explorer Victor Vescovo pilots the submarine DSV Limiting Factor in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench in an undated still image from video released by the Discovery Channel May 13, 2019. Atlantic Productions for Discovery Channel/Handout via REUTERS.
Undersea explorer Victor Vescovo pilots the submarine DSV Limiting Factor in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench in an undated still image from video released by the Discovery Channel May 13, 2019. Atlantic Productions for Discovery Channel/Handout via REUTERS.
An object described by a spokesperson for the Five Deeps Mariana expedition as
An object described by a spokesperson for the Five Deeps Mariana expedition as "manmade" is illuminated at top right by the light of the submarine DSV Limiting Factor on the floor of the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench, in an undated still image from video released by the Discovery Channel May 13, 2019. Atlantic Productions for Discovery Channel/Handout via REUTERS.
Sea creatures swim around a part of a submersible lander, illuminated by the light of the submarine DSV Limiting Factor on the floor of the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench in an undated still image from video released by the Discovery Channel May 13, 2019. Discovery Channel/Handout via REUTERS.
Sea creatures swim around a part of a submersible lander, illuminated by the light of the submarine DSV Limiting Factor on the floor of the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench in an undated still image from video released by the Discovery Channel May 13, 2019. Discovery Channel/Handout via REUTERS.
The Skaff lander floats next to the research vessel DSSV Pressure Drop above the Pacific Oceans's Mariana Trench in an undated photo released by the Discovery Channel May 13, 2019. Atlantic Productions for Discovery Channel/Reeve Jolliffe/Handout via REUTERS.
The Skaff lander floats next to the research vessel DSSV Pressure Drop above the Pacific Oceans's Mariana Trench in an undated photo released by the Discovery Channel May 13, 2019. Atlantic Productions for Discovery Channel/Reeve Jolliffe/Handout via REUTERS.
A technician checks the submarine DSV Limiting Factor aboard the research vessel DSSV Pressure Drop above the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench in an undated photo released by the Discovery Channel May 13, 2019. Atlantic Productions for Discovery Channel/Tamara Stubbs/Handout via REUTERS.
A technician checks the submarine DSV Limiting Factor aboard the research vessel DSSV Pressure Drop above the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench in an undated photo released by the Discovery Channel May 13, 2019. Atlantic Productions for Discovery Channel/Tamara Stubbs/Handout via REUTERS.
The submarine DSV Limiting Factor floats near the research vessel DSSV Pressure Drop above the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench in an undated photo released by the Discovery Channel May 13, 2019. Atlantic Productions for Discovery Channel/Tamara Stubbs/Handout via REUTERS.
The submarine DSV Limiting Factor floats near the research vessel DSSV Pressure Drop above the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench in an undated photo released by the Discovery Channel May 13, 2019. Atlantic Productions for Discovery Channel/Tamara Stubbs/Handout via REUTERS.
The submarine DSV Limiting Factor is tethered to a crane from the research vessel DSSV Pressure Drop above the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench in an undated photo released by the Discovery Channel May 13, 2019. Atlantic Productions for Discovery Channel/Tamara Stubbs/Handout via REUTERS.
The submarine DSV Limiting Factor is tethered to a crane from the research vessel DSSV Pressure Drop above the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench in an undated photo released by the Discovery Channel May 13, 2019. Atlantic Productions for Discovery Channel/Tamara Stubbs/Handout via REUTERS.
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