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May 14, 2019 -- Plastic waste has been found on the seafloor during a record-breaking dive by an American explorer.
Victor Vescovo, a retired naval officer, said he made the unsettling discovery as he descended 10,928 metres to a point in the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench – the deepest place on Earth.
His dive went 16 metres lower than the previous deepest descent in the trench, in 1960, by U.S. Navy lieutenant Don Walsh and Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard in a vessel called the bathyscaphe Trieste.
Movie director James Cameron then made a solo plunge half a century later in 2012 in his Deepsea Challenger submarine.
Millions of tonnes of plastic enter the oceans each year, but little is known about where much of it ends up.
The dive forms part of the Five Deeps expedition - an attempt to explore the deepest points in each of the world's five oceans.