Trash Tales – To Boldly Go Before Us

trash on ocean floor



Well it appears that yet again we have sunk to all new depths and that my friends is not entirely sarcastic. It appears that in a recent survey of the ocean floor bottles, plastic bags, fishing gear, and various crap have been found as deep 4.5 kilometers below the surface, and in areas far as 2,000 kilometers from land.

So after reaching new and uncharted depths in the ocean it appears that our garbage has arrived there before us.  An article from IFLScience  reproduced some of the visuals I have here and also talked about the issues surrounding the effects to marine life, coral and the fragile ecosystem that can be so negatively impacted by the plastics and other pieces of detritus that were captured on film.


  1. Pictured here: A = Plastic bag entrapped by a small drop stone harboring sponges (Cladorhiza gelida, Caulophacus arcticus), shrimps (Bythocaris sp.) and a crinoid (Bathycrinus carpenterii) in the Arctic at 2500 m.
  2. B = Litter recovered within the net of a trawl in Blanes open slope at 1500 m on board the R/V García del Cid.
  3. C = Heineken can in the upper Whittard canyon at 950 m with the ROV Genesis.
  4. D = Plastic bag in Blanes Canyon at 896 m with the ROV Liropus.
  5. E = Uncle Ben’s Express Rice packet at 967 m in Darwin Mound with the ROV Lynx.
  6. F = Cargo net entangled in a cold-water coral colony at 950 m in Darwin Mound with the ROV Lynx

[This information taken from the Marine Litter Distribution and Density in European Seas, from the Shelves to Deep Basins]

A press release has Kerry Howell from Plymouth University and coauthor of a survey of the European Sea Floor stating:

Human litter is present in all marine habitats, from beaches to the most remote and deepest parts of the oceans.  Most of the deep-sea remains unexplored by humans, and these are our first visits to many of these sites, but we were shocked to find that our rubbish has got there before us.

safe_imageIn a previous post, This Will Break Your Heart, I highlighted the terrible price wildlife dependent upon the sea for its diet pay due to the unthinking negligence humanity shows the world in which we live.

When you consider just that singular island [Midway Island] and the heartbreaking damage we saw there and then factor in the vastness of the ocean and the multitude of those who rely upon it for sustenance you can hear the drums of extinction thrumming a steady beat that is getting closer with every assault upon the environment.

Hear in Australia we are fighting to keep deliberate harm from dredging and dumping on the Great Barrier Reef along with the incalculable risk that is inherent every time one of the tankers crosses the shipping lanes close to the reef [thank you Campbell Newman for that one].


Future Landfill?

What concerns me now, after reading this paper, is the impact we are unwittingly having on the ocean and it’s ecosystem. Can it sustain much more damage before the collapse of its fragile balance is unstoppable, have we passed that mark unknowingly, considering the contaminants that have now permanently entered the food chain?

Is this beautiful scene already dying and if not what can we do or what are we prepared to do to ensure the that the Reef does not become Queensland’s Landfill?  We can’t give in to political bullying or company swagger, we can’t get tired and give up and we can’t give an inch because that inch could save or damn this unique gift we have been given.

21 thoughts on “Trash Tales – To Boldly Go Before Us

  1. I meant to comment on your “This will break your heart” post but honestly, it left me feeling empty and helpless. Really impacted me. This post however really drives home the post that none of us cannot ever give up. Thank you for making really important contributions to public awareness, Jenni!!


    • Thanks – I actually had a hard time doing that post as it left me feeling much the same – fortunately dredged up some angry and managed to shake off the shock of those images and got it up.

      When I saw this I just thought if one island is like that how many other places and animals are affected that we don’t know anything about.


  2. Things like this, where the effects of our actions are outside the boundaries of any country, make me even more sure that we need a world government organisation, not just the UN or EU, but an organisation where the president or prime minister of EVERY country comes together to make decisions about the environment.


    • I think you are right and perhaps for the first time in the history of this world such a thing could be accomplished. The net has brought us a great many things but one of the most important is the distance between countries and people has been shortened to such an extent that information can be transmitted instantly. It also has the added benefit of being so large and unwieldy that it is almost impossible to muzzle and direct the way that mainstream media has been tamed or used. I suppose that only time will tell but as I said I think there may be hope for that in the future.


  3. The only way for this planet to heal is if we weren’t on it… I believe that this planet will drown in salt water and then life as we know it will change… Desalinization plants won’t produce enough water and only the few will survive…no a pleasant view of what is to come…


    • No it’s not – I’ve come to the conclusion that ‘changing the world’ isn’t the answer what is needed it to change the way WE live in this world and that I think is a near impossible task but I still have room for hope – small hope but hope none the less.


      • Did you ever see the documentary movie called Water Wars… It’s coming and it won’t be pretty… I’m not a doomsday man but water will be more valuable than oil.. You can’t drink oil.. But three days without h2O… Not good


      • No I don’t think I have but I imagine it would be vicious. Those with money would survive by commandeering the supplies and gouging profits and those to poor would simply die.


      • Someday all the money they have won’t save them… Money has fiat value… None.. The ones who will survive will be those who can farm their own food… I tried here and it’s tough.. I tried seeds and only a handful of plants made it… Im Doomed


      • I was too the first time, it took me a while to find the right balance to make a sustainable kitchen garden and greenhouse.

        You’re right about money of course. What I meant was that rather than spend money and change the way we do things those with power and money will let things go on as they have the funds for it not to make too much of a difference until it is far too late to even buy water. But before the end comes those with less will have perished because of the short sighted greed of those in power.


      • By the way are you near MissLouella? Same coast? Haven’t a clue… You two are nice souls…


      • She is the Northern Territory and her coastline is the northern part almost directly in the middle of Australia’s coast. I’m from Qld which is the eastern coastline. We live in the northern part of Eastern Australia and get mild winters, hot humid summers and monsoon season from December to April. Further down south is gets progressively colder in winter and in the part of Victoria, New South Wales etc it will actually snow.


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