Researches review materials lying on the seafloor
The research summarizes current knowledge of human-sourced materials on the seafloor and discusses methodologies to strengthen future studies. Plastics, fishing gears, metal, glass, ceramics, textiles and paper are the most abundant materials in seafloor
As stated in a recent study paper published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the Messina Strait is the area with the largest marine litter density worldwide, with more than a million items per square kilometer in some sections.
The amount of garbage in the sea could reach three billion metric tons over the next thirty years, the corresponding authors being the experts Miquel Canals of the Faculty of Earth Sciences of the University of Barcelona and Georg Hanke of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission, where scientists conduct research in order to provide independent scientific advice.
A team of twenty-five scientists from around the world discussed concerns such as knowledge specifications, methodologies, harmonization and further development needs.
The ocean floor is collecting marine litter more and more. Although the largest seafloor litter hotspots are yet to be discovered in the deep sea, plastics have already been found in the Pacific Ocean at the deepest point on Earth, the Mariana Trench, at a depth of 10,900 meters. Experts warn that in some situations, litter concentrations reach densities comparable to large landfills.
The distribution of litter objects on the seabed is determined by geomorphological characteristics, submarine relief and the composition of the seafloor. Ocean dynamics ease the transport and dispersal of litter across the ocean, from coasts to abyssal plains, thousands of meters deep, such as thick water cascades, ocean waves and storms.
The characteristics of the materials dumped in the marine environment also impact their ocean floor dispersion and accumulation.
A new challenge to aquatic biodiversity is litter. Almost 700 marine species, 17 percent of which are on the IUCN red list, are already reported to have been affected in several ways by this issue. Because of ghost fishing, seabed interlocked fishing gears can cause significant ecological impacts for decades.
New technologies have made substantial advances in the study of the global environmental status of the seabed.
In spite of the limitations of physical sampling, the use of autonomous, remotely operated vehicles is important for in situ observation. There are also drawbacks to classic techniques such as bottom trawling, as they do not allow the exact position of the bottom-sampled artifacts to be established.
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