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Good news, everyone! The deepest manned sea dive has discovered our trash on the ocean floor

A true testament to humanity’s indomitable spirit, a record-setting underwater expedition has just been completed that not only brings our species deeper into the ocean ever before, but proves, too, that we’re fucking awesome at destroying conceivable corner of our world.

Victor Vescovo and The Five Deeps Expedition, an exploration team that’s been out piloting high-tech submersibles into the depths of the Atlantic, Southern, Indian, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans since late last year, just came back from their most recent dip in the Mariana Trench, reportedly achieving the deepest manned ocean dive yet recorded. They think they found some new species but they know they found some trash.

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Previously held by James Cameron, who has really just been losing records left and right lately, the Five Deeps team achieved this feat with the help of a high-tech submersible designed to brave creepy fish-things, incredible pressure, complete darkness, and freezing temperatures.

According to the BBC, Vescovo “descended nearly 11km (seven miles) to the deepest place in the ocean,” explored the trench for four hours, and “found sea creatures, but also found a plastic bag and sweet wrappers” during his trip.

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“The scientists now plan to test the creatures they collected to see if they contain microplastics,” BBC News’ Rebecca Morelle writes, noting that “a recent study found this was a widespread problem, even for animals living in the deep.”

Not content with dropping bags of shit on the moon or nurturing a trash-strengthened eagle commune, it seems our legacy as a species includes the power of not only our minds, but the ability for us to leave junk in every conceivable place. Even in locations where we can’t venture without the aid of sophisticated technology, our candy wrappers and grocery bags go ahead of us—a sort of gross scouting party for our gross species.

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The entire BBC article is full of other interesting facts about the Five Deeps’ Mariana dive and work, but it’s that last point that really hits home. No matter how impressive our exploratory feats may be, we can never outpace our trash.

[via BBC News]

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About the author

Reid McCarter

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.