Using video from underwater drones and samples dredged off the seabed, researchers from 16 European organizations say they found rubbish everywhere from the Mediterranean to the mid-Atlantic ridge, about 1,250 miles from land.
They found that plastic was the most common type of litter found, with items associated with fishing coming in second. But an extensive distribution of glass, metal, wood, paper and cardboard was also observed.
Writing in the journal PLoS ONE, the researchers said the most dense accumulations of litter were found in deep underwater canyons.
“Submarine canyons form the main connection between shallow coastal waters and the deep sea,” said mapping team leader Veerle Huvenne.
“Canyons that are located close to major coastal towns and cities ... can funnel litter straight to water depths of 4,500 meters (14,800 feet) or more,” he added.
He added that the accumulation of marine litter is now a worldwide problem.
Photo: Hermione Project - Plymouth University