American breaks record with deepest submarine dive ever, finds plastic waste

An American diver broke the record for deepest submarine dive ever and found something disheartening at the bottom of the ocean — a plastic bag. Victor Vescovo traveled seven miles down to the deepest part of the ocean, Mariana Trench in the Pacific, BBC News reports

During his four-hour excursion, Vescovo spotted new sea creatures — as well as a plastic bag and candy wrappers. The dive was recorded for “Deep Planet,” a series that will air on Discovery Channel later this year.

His team believes they discovered four new prawn-like species in total. They also saw a spoon worm, a pink snailfish, and a colored rocky outcrops, all inhabitants of the deep sea. In addition to the creatures, they discovered something that past expeditions have not: pollution. Humanity’s impact had reached the deepest parts of the sea floor, too, the team realized.

The scientists plan on testing the creatures they collected to see if they contain microplastics. This is a widespread problem for sea creatures, even those living extremely deep in the ocean, a recent study has found.

“It is almost indescribable how excited all of us are about achieving what we just did,” Vescovo told BBC News. “This submarine and its mother ship, along with its extraordinarily talented expedition team, took marine technology to a ridiculously higher new level by diving — rapidly and repeatedly — into the deepest, harshest, area of the ocean.”