Plastic has been found in ocean-floor sediments 2km below the surface in one of Australia’s most precious and isolated marine environments.
CSIRO scientists discovered the microplastic pieces while analysing samples taken hundreds of kilometres offshore at the bottom of the Great Australian Bight– a so-called “pristine” biodiversity hotspot and marine treasure.
Conservationists and scientists said the discovery off the South Australian coast should act as a “wake-up call” for governments and corporations to cut unnecessary use of plastics and to “legislate and incentivise” to tackle the growing ocean plastics problem.
Dr Denise Hardesty, a principal research scientist at CSIRO and a member of the team analysing the sediments, said: “This points to just how ubiquitous plastics are in our environment. Even in deep sea sediments around Australia, that’s a developed country, we still find plastic – anthropogenic waste – from the bottom of the sea to the surface.
“Wherever you are, the organisms passing through those areas will have come in contact with it – whether it was a fishing line or a plastic bag that’s broken down into thousands of tiny pieces.
Photo: Iurii Ostakhov/Wikimedia Commons