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Undersea explorer goes deeper than any solo diver in history and finds plastic

Victor Vescovo set out to break the world record for the deepest dive in history, but while he was at the bottom of the ocean, he came up with another argument for fighting plastic pollution.

Victor Vescovo [Photo: courtesy of Reeve Jolliffe]
Vescovo, an American undersea explorer and Dallas businessman, spent four hours exploring the Challenger Deep, the southern end of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, as part of a mission to chart the world’s deepest underwater places. While he was (hat tip to Adele) rolling in the deep in a submersible designed to withstand the immense pressure of life on the ocean floor, he set a record for the deepest solo dive in history, at nearly seven miles, besting the record set by Titanic director James Cameron in 2012.

According to the BBC, he also discovered four new species of sea creatures, including what the BBC calls “prawn-like crustaceans,” and something less charming–a plastic bag. That means that human waste has spread from the top of Mount Everest to the world’s rivers and much of its soil, and to the deepest places in the ocean. Great job, humans. Per the BBC, the scientists plan to test the creatures they collected to see if they contain microplastics, which are everywhere (yes, everywhere).

Details of the voyage, which was undertaken on May 1, were released for the first time on Monday as Vescovo strives to explore all the deepest points of the planet. His mission to explore the largely unexplored oceans is being documented by the Discovery Channel for an upcoming series. According to Newsweek, Vescovo’s next expedition will be to the bottom of the Tonga Trench in the South Pacific, where he will undoubtedly also find traces of humanity’s plastic problem.

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