Until Victor Vescovo landed his submersible there recently, no human had been to the seabed’s deepest point at the very bottom of the fearsome Mariana Trench, nearly 11 km below the surface of the Paciﬁc Ocean. But Vescovo found more than shy marine life and vast untouched landscapes in the ocean’s most remote trough. Within minutes of reaching bottom, he also found trash.
This is a big change from when we were kids,” says Eric Galbraith, an ocean biogeochemist at the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies in Barcelona and adjunct professor at McGill University in Montreal. “We always had this sense that there was a part of the planet that was beyond, that was untouched by human action. That used to be true. And now it’s no longer true.”