Discovered at 6,900 meters deep in the Mariana Trench, located in the Pacific, a new species of crustacean named Eurythenes plasticus has intrigued the scientific community, calling attention to the real dimension of sea pollution by remains of plastic and the damage that the current scale of pollution has brought to marine species.
The animal received this name because it contains, inside its body, large amounts of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a substance widely used in the manufacture of household utensils and plastic bottles, objects closely related to the great tragedies involving contamination of the marine ecosystem.
“The researchers officially named the species Eurythenes plasticus, referring to the plastic the animal ingested. Inside its body, they found ‘polyethylene terephthalate’ (PET), a substance found in a wide variety of commonly used household items, such as water bottles. and gym clothes “, says the ANP in a note.
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The name chosen for the small amphipod found in the Mariana Trench serves, according to Catarina Grilo, director of Conservation and Policies at the ANP / WWF, as a warning to raise awareness of the real and intense consequences of the contamination of seas, lakes and oceans by plastics.
“There are species that live in the deepest and most remote places on Earth that have ingested plastic before they were even known to mankind. Plastics are in the air we breathe, in the water we drink and now also in animals that live far from human civilization”, said Heike Vesper, director of WWF Germany. “Once in the water, plastic pollution breaks down into microplastics and nanoplastics, spreading into the oceans, where it is ingested by marine animals like ‘E. Plasticus.”
Fortunately, the scientists reported that not all species of crustaceans taken for analysis are contaminated, but they have avoided creating false hopes for team members. “There are many new species that we will find and describe, in the oceans, that will be contaminated, unfortunately”, they concluded in a note.