Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) find that trash is not only cluttering beaches, but is accumulating deep sea, notably in the Monterey Canyon.
Surprisingly large amounts of discarded trash end up in the ocean. Plastic bags, aluminum cans, and fishing debris not only clutter our beaches, but accumulate in open-ocean areas such as the 'Great Pacific Garbage Patch' reports ScienceDaily.
In total, the researchers counted over 1,500 observations of deep-sea debris, at dive sites from Vancouver Island to the Gulf of California, and as far west as the Hawaiian Islands. In the recent paper, the researchers focused on seafloor debris in and around Monterey Bay -- an area in which MBARI conducts over 200 research dives a year. In this region alone, the researchers noted over 1,150 pieces of debris on the seafloor.
According to ScienceDaily the researchers found that trash was not randomly distributed on the seafloor. Instead, it collected on steep, rocky slopes, such as the edges of Monterey Canyon, as well as in a few spots in the canyon axis. The researchers speculate that debris accumulates where ocean currents flow past rocky outcrops or other obstacles.
The researchers also discovered that debris was more common in the deeper parts of the canyon, below 2,000 meters (6,500 feet).