The bad news keeps on coming.

Scientists studying some of the world’s deepest oceans have discovered microplastic ingestion by organisms. The study looked at the Mariana trench and five other areas, where depths reach more than 6,000 metres. The conclusion is shocking: “it is highly likely there are no marine ecosystems left that are not impacted by plastic pollution”.

The paper, published in the Royal Society Open Science journal, highlights the threat posed by non-biodegradable substances in clothes, containers and packaging, which make their way from household bins via dump sites and rivers to the oceans, where they break up and sink to the floor.

Researchers examined subsea creatures from six of the deepest places in the world to see whether each of the six areas had succumbed to the scourge of plastic across the globe. Researches found ingestion of microparticles by amphipods – a shrimp-like crustacean that scavenges on the seabed. The deeper the region, the higher the rate of consumption.

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In the Mariana trench – which goes down to the lowest point on earth of 10,890 metres below sea level – 100% of samples contained at least one microparticle.

Materials found included polyester-reinforced cotton and fibres made of lyocell, rayon, ramie, polyvinyl and polyethylene.

The full paper can be read here.