Water/Wastewater

How Deep Does Pollution Reach?

Feb 17 2017 Comments 0

Pollution is everywhere. It’s the unfortunate consequence of years of negligent human activity. And by everywhere, we mean everywhere. Recent discoveries have revealed shocking levels of pollution in the most discreet corners of the planet. Read on to find out just how deep pollution can get.

Mariana Trench

Pub quiz enthusiasts will no doubt be aware that the deepest part of the ocean is the Mariana Trench. Located to the west of the Pacific Ocean, the trench reaches depths of nearly 11,000 metres. If there is one place on earth you might think would escape pollution, it’s here.

It appears not, however, as scientists have discovered the incredible levels of pollution. Using a robotic submarine, a team of UK scientists captured small crustaceans that had been living in the deep, dark waters. Upon testing the creatures they found over 50 times the toxic chemicals of crabs living in highly polluted Chinese rivers.

What exactly are the toxic pollutants?

The study, published in the journal of Nature Ecology and Evolution, specifies some of the most concerning as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). Possessing a “high binding affinity to organic and inorganic particals”, these pollutants readily accumulate and increase in numbers. The findings confirm that rather than a pristine, untouched area of the earth, the deep trench is acting more like a sink.

“We still think of the deep ocean as being this remote and pristine realm, safe from human impact, but our research shows that, sadly, this could not be further from the truth,” said Newcastle University’s Alan Jamieson. ““The fact that we found such extraordinary levels of these pollutants really brings home the long-term, devastating impact that mankind is having on the planet.”

From bad to worse

The comparison to waters in China goes to show just how bad the problem has become. The heavily polluted rivers were previously thought to be some of the worst on the planet, but have been blown out of the water – so to speak – by the new discovery.

China, on the other hand, is working to improve its water. Heavily industrialised areas have gone from bad to worse in recent years, but the new regulations are stricter and more comprehensive than ever before. ‘All Eyes on China’s Industrial Water Market’ explores how the Water Ten Plan will tackle major polluters and boost the industrial water market by $300 billion by 2020.

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