Chinese study warns of microplastics polluting deep ocean waters
Two fragments of blue microplastic, likely to have originated from discarded fishing gear, are seen surrounded by diatom phytoplankton on an iPad screen connected to a microscope, having been collected in a fine mesh trawl net during a sea surface trawl through by Hong Kong University students of environmental sciences and staff from Plastic Free Seas, in the Lamma Channel, in Hong Kong, China, Feb. 27, 2016. EPA-EFE/FILE/ALEX HOFFORD
Beijing, Dec 5 (efe-epa).- A Chinese study found the presence of microplastics in deep ocean waters in quantities much higher than those found in ocean subsurface water, reported China's state-run Xinhua news agency on Wednesday.
Researchers from the Institute of Deep-sea Science and Engineering of Chinese Academy of Sciences, collected water and sediment samples from the southern part of Mariana Trench from depths ranging between 2,500 and 11,000 meters.
"Microplastics in hadal bottom waters range from 2.06 to 13.51 pieces per liter, several times higher than those in open ocean subsurface water," the researchers said, reported Xinhua.
"Microplastic abundance in hadal sediments of the Mariana Trench varies from 200 to 2,200 pieces per liter, distinctly higher than those in most deep-sea sediments," the study said.
"Plastics have contaminated the most remote and deepest places on the planet," and their problems are yet not known but they can have "potentially damaging impacts on this fragile ecosystem," it added.
Microplastics are fibrous, rod-like, and roundish in shape, and mostly blue, red, white, green and purple in color.
Plastic microfibers are present majorly in all microplastics, with a length that ranges between one and three millimeters in water samples and between 0.1 to 0.5 millimeters in sediment samples, the Xinhua report said.