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The Last Place on Earth Where You’d Expect Pollution is One of the Dirtiest

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If you thought that the giant amoebas at the bottom of the Mariana Trench had it easy down there, enjoying immunity from the mess we are making of this planet, sadly, you were wrong.

In a recent report published in the journal Nature, Ecology & Evolution the myth of a clean, deep ocean was shattered.

The report states that 50 times more pollutants were found in crustaceans collected more than 10 km down in the ocean, than in crabs from the Liaohe River. That river is one of the most polluted water systems in China, and probably ranks highly world-wide.

What is even more striking is the kinds of chemicals that were found.

Some of the chemicals that were discovered include two persistent organic pollutants, or POPs.

These noxious chemicals were produced between the 1930s and 1970s. So what we are dealing with is a long term build-up of our disgusting creations.

The report goes on to state that more than a 1 million tons of these chemicals were manufactured before they were outlawed. They were never supposed to be released into the environment, but because of industrial accidents, leaks, and incomplete incineration they are very prevalent in the deep sea.

POPs last a long time, and they are very hard to destroy or clean up.

The lead researcher, Alan Jamieson of Newcastle University, commented in an interview to the Guardian, “We still think of the deep ocean as being this remote and pristine realm, safe from human impact, but our research shows that, sadly, this could not be further from the truth,”, he went on to say that,“The fact that we found such extraordinary levels of these pollutants really brings home the long-term, devastating impact that mankind is having on the planet.”

Scientists think that it is possible that the POPs built up fast in the trench. Radiation from the Fukushima Daichi nuclear catastrophe was also found in the trench. Scientists were able to estimate that it takes no more than six months for surface contamination to reach the trench.

Now we know how quickly our awful chemicals and retroactive pollution can spread to the furthest reaches of our planet.

When are we going to start taking care of our planet?

Interestingly enough, all of the creatures at the bottom of the trench seem to be doing fine.

The glowing jelly-fish don’t seem to mind that we are saturating their environment with a toxic cocktail.

So at least there is that.

[via nationalgeographic]

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