In six of the ocean's deepest crevasses, scientists found tiny shrimp-like creatures chomping on tiny bits of plastic. The new research, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, sampled deep-sea critters called amphipods, small shrimp-like crustaceans, living in the deepest known trenches on Earth. Tiny pieces of plastic smaller than five millimeters, called microplastic, were present in every trench and in 72 percent of the amphipods they collected. Sixty-six percent of the plastic they found was blue fibers. Black, red, and purple fragments were also present, along with blue and pink fragments.
No trench was fiber-free, and more than 80 percent of the amphipods contained them. The deeper the trench, they found, the more fibers were present. When tested, they found the fibers were the same used in textiles, and the study suggests they entered the ocean after leaching from washing machines. This study reports the deepest record of microplastic ingestion, indicating it is highly likely there are no marine ecosystems left that are not impacted by plastic pollution.