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Viewings: 3891Scary, but the fact is that the Arctic ocean floor littered with plastic and other waste.
The package you carelessly put on the top of a crowded ballot boxes, walking along the Arkhangelsk promenade, and that the first gust of wind swept into the sea (photo by the authors).
Deep-sea Observatory HAUSGARTEN Institute for polar and marine research them. Alfred Wegener (Germany) showed that garbage there, even more than in the deep canyon near Lisbon (Portugal), although it is believed that the waste prefer to accumulate in the hollows, and not on a relatively flat bottom.
Melanie Bergman of the mentioned Institute and her colleagues reviewed 2 100 photos bottom made by the Observatory in the Eastern part of the FRAM Strait, separating Greenland and Svalbard. The researchers felt that the shots 2011 garbage much more so that a separate analysis of the received images, received in 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2008.
Employees of the Institute of Alfred Wegener regularly deploy a monitoring system of the seabed OFOS (Ocean Floor Observation System) during expeditions "North star" (Polarstern) to HAUSGARTEN. Central station Observatory is located at a depth of 2,500 m in one and a half metres above the floor and captures every 30 C. Mainly by the photographs used by biologists to track changes in biodiversity. This time they came in handy ecologists. On images of 2002 garbage occurs in 1% of cases, in 2011 - twice as often. From 2007 to 2011 the amount of waste has increased considerably.
What is seemingly two percent? The Arctic is a lot. The bottom of the Arctic ocean was considered a secluded area of our planet, but we got there.
To determine the origin of garbage for only one photo has failed. The researchers suspect that played a role shortening and thinning of sea ice, because the ice is usually prevents waste being blown off the land, to fall into the water, and does not pass to the ships. Same day shipping in the Arctic has increased. In comparison with 2007 in the area of Spitsbergen today appears three times as many private yachts, and to 36 times larger fishing vessels. Besides, scavengers, annually cleaning the beaches of Spitsbergen, say that the majority of waste left after fishermen.
Mostly victims of the growing contamination of the seabed become deep-sea residents. Almost 70% plastic comes in contact with organisms. For example, the photographs show sponges, entangled in plastic bags, sea anemones, attached to pieces of plastic and ropes, as well as cardboard and beer bottles, colonized by the sea lilies.
In contact with plastic sponges and other filter feeders can be injured as a result they are less likely to absorb food particles, slower growing and most likely worse to multiply. Besides plastic often contain harmful chemical additives. Research suggests that plastic bags, sinking, can disrupt gas exchange and lead to the establishment of areas of low oxygen. Meanwhile, some animals use waste as a suitable object of colonization that in some way contributes to biodiversity conservation.
As for microplastic that marine residents can just accidentally swallowed and cause even more harm, the researchers note that large fragments hardly can quickly degenerate into a micro-plastic in the conditions of the Arctic seabed, where there is no sunlight or strong currents. Because of the same reasons, however, the garbage can remain there for many centuries.
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