Banned Chemicals Found Deep In Mariana Trench

Posted: Feb 14 2017, 4:58am CST | by , Updated: Feb 14 2017, 5:55am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Banned Chemicals Found in Deep Ocean Organisms
Hirondellea gigas are voracious scavengers that consume anything that comes down from the surface. Credit: Dr Alan Jamieson
  • Worst Pollutants Found in Deep Ocean Organisms
 

It looks like some of the worst pollutants from the 70s were found deep in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana and Kermadec Trenches

A novel study, led by Newcastle University's Dr Alan Jamieson, showed that pollutants of the worst kind had penetrated to the deepest levels of the world’s oceans. Amphipods from the Mariana and Kermadec Trench were sampled.

These trenches are 10 km deep and 7000 km apart. Very high levels of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) were found in the region. These pollutants seemed to especially accumulate in the animal’s fatty tissues.   

PCBs and PBDEs which are used in fire extinguishers and PVC wires were common among the hazardous pollutants. The findings were published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

The scientists are trying to wrap their heads around the consequences of this blatant pollution of the oceanic systems. While up until now scientists had thought of the deep blue ocean as a relatively peaceful and pure place, now that picture is about to change.

Human beings have managed to pollute even this pristine region. The amphipods contained pollutants equal to those found in the Soruga Bay where the pollution levels are the highest in the world.   

What the scientists cannot grasp yet is the implications of all this for the ecosystem of the global village. From the 30s to the 70s when PCBs were finally banned, over 1.3 million tons of these harmful pollutants were released into the environment.

Accidents of industrial proportions and leaks from tankers and factories may have played their part in all this. Furthermore, these pollutants do not undergo breakdown into their components easily.

Deep sea landers were employed to reach the depths of the oceans and sample the life forms that existed at that level. Polymer garbage and dead marine life forms that sank to the depths were responsible for the pollution as well. 

The intervention of mankind into Nature’s ways have led to this conundrum. We have turned tailcoat and harmed out heritage that was a pristine and pure environment of lush green verdure.

The legacy of mankind is not something to be very proud of. The oceanic waters comprise the largest biome on earth. It is a virtual sink for pollution.

However, these pollutants get concentrated in the food chain. While mankind may shove all this dirt of pollution under the rug of its consciousness, ultimately it will come out and face us one fine day in the future.

Then we will be left distraught and unable to do anything about it. The ostrich-like head-in-the-sand policy will not do for long.  

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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