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Home* News and Stories → “Repo­si­to­ry” for pla­s­tic was­te at 2500 meters depth

“Repo­si­to­ry” for pla­s­tic was­te at 2500 meters depth

Two rese­ar­chers from the Alfred Wege­ner Insti­tu­te in Bre­mer­ha­ven found lar­ge amounts of pla­s­tic was­te at a depth of 2500 meters on the seabed in the Framstrait, a strait bet­ween Green­land and Spits­ber­gen.

From 2002 to 2014, the Framstrait seabed was sys­te­ma­ti­cal­ly pho­to­gra­phed with a remo­te-con­trol­led came­ra. The result of the stu­dy is dra­ma­tic: the deep sea threa­tens to beco­me a kind of “repo­si­to­ry for pla­s­tic was­te”, fears deep sea bio­lo­gist Dr. Mela­nie Berg­mann. In 2014 6333 pla­s­tic parts were coun­ted in the regi­on on a squa­re kilo­me­ter seabed! Alt­hough the­re is rela­tively litt­le human influence here, the amount of pla­s­tic was­te is com­pa­ra­ble to that found clo­se to lar­ge cities, for exam­p­le in the lower waters of Lis­bon.

Unfort­u­na­te­ly just one of many: pla­s­tic bag – pho­to­graph taken at 2500 meters depth… (Image: Mela­nie Berg­mann, Alfred-Wege­ner-Insti­tut)

Platic bag on the seabed

Whe­re exact­ly the gar­ba­ge comes from, can not be said doubt­less­ly. What is cer­tain is that pla­s­tic was­te is also trans­por­ted into polar regi­ons with the Gulf Stream. In Framstrait seve­ral lar­ge streams of sea meet. It is the only link bet­ween the polar sea and the oce­ans. But also the sea ice could trans­port pla­s­tic parts, says Dr. Mela­nie Berg­mann. If the ice melts in sum­mer, pla­s­tic was­te can be released.

At the begin­ning of Febru­ary an obvious­ly sick Cuvier’s Bea­k­ed Wha­le (Ziphi­us cavi­rostris) stran­ded on the island of Sotra clo­se to Ber­gen. The Cuvier’s Bea­k­ed Wha­le is actual­ly a deep-sea wha­le, which very rare­ly stays in coas­tal are­as. In his sto­mach, more than 30 pla­s­tic bags were found …

Source: Alfred-Wege­ner-Insti­tut, NRK, Aften­pos­ten



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last modification: 2017-02-26 · copyright: Rolf Stange