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Deepest-ever sub dive finds plastic bag at 36000 ft deep

18 May 2019

However, he also made an unsettling discovery as he descended almost 6.8 miles to a point in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench that is the deepest place on Earth, seeing something he was not expecting to come across so deep beneath the surface - trash.

Don Walsh (left), who dived to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in 1960 with the US Navy, congratulates Victor Vescovo (right) on setting a new dive record.

As well as the Mariana Trench in the Pacific, in the last six months dives have also taken place in the Puerto Rico Trench in the Atlantic Ocean (8,376m), the South Sandwich Trench in the Southern Ocean (7,433m) and the Java Trench in Indian Ocean (7,192m). The dive on May 1, which broke a record previously set by "Titanic" director James Cameron in 2012, uncovered disheartening evidence of humans' destructive impact on the planet: plastic bags and wrappers floating in the deepest depths of the ocean.

Previous analysis of tiny deep-sea animals in the Mariana Trench found the ocean depths contain high levels of pollution.

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The dives were made in Vescovo's submersible, the "DSV Limiting Factor", collecting biological and rock samples. 3 Both the Trieste and Deepsea Challenger only descended to the bottom of Challenger Deep once.

What is the Mariana Trench?

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

What looks like a plastic wrapper at the far right-hand corner of the picture.

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In the next step, the team said its scientists were going to perform tests on the creatures found to in order to have a clear picture about the percentage of plastics found in them.

Vescovo said he wasn't surprised by the discovery, though, disappointed to see "human contamination" in the deep ocean.

A documentary series that chronicles his expedition will air on Discovery Channel later this year. She did confirm that whatever Vescovo found at the bottom of the ocean floor is "something that resembled man made waste" but could not say whether it was a plastic bag.

The waste was never retrieved so it's hard to ever know whether it was indeed a plastic bag, but the discovery may still indicate that all is not well at the bottom of the world's oceans. "And now in 2019, the Five Deeps Expedition's submersible Limiting Factor was the third", Walsh said, adding, "And I was there to see it".

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A robotic lander photographs the creatures in the deep Mariana Trench and the submersible in the background.

Deepest-ever sub dive finds plastic bag at 36000 ft deep