The deep sea is littered with all the junk we carelessly toss away, from plastic bags to old washing machines to incredibly creepy figurines. Not even the greatest depths of the ocean are spared from our impressively depressing garbage footprint.
A Japanese research agency has started cataloguing all the plastic, metal, rubber, and cloth it comes across during deep-sea missions. The result is an extensive database of nearly 1,800 videos and photos of underwater trash.
The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology opened the database this week, revealing a trove of hidden “treasures” captured by its research submarines since 1982, The Japan Times reported.
The database, available in English and Japanese, is relatively easy to navigate. Users can search by debris type, location, and water depth.
“I want people to know that trash at sea not only floats ashore but affects the sea at depths of 10,000 meters [33,000 feet],” Hideaki Saito, acting head of the agency’s information disclosure group, told Japan Times.
Here’s a sampling of some of the trash lurking deep below us.
As if the doll photo above didn’t clue you in, some items in the database are incredibly disturbing. Like this mannequin head, found in 1991 at around 20,500 feet deep in the Japan Trench.
Clean-up in Mariana Trench
The Mariana Trench — the deepest part of the entire ocean — reaches depths of at least 36,000 feet in the western Pacific. Film director James Cameron piloted the Deepsea Challenger to the trench’s bottom in 2012. Perhaps he should’ve brought a trash picker.
Japanese researchers spotted this terrifying discarded doll in 2008 near the Sagami Bay. No, she’s not plotting her revenge on humankind, why would you think that?
Cast-off car tires abound on the seafloor. In the first video, sea creatures have made the most of their rubber visitor. Bivalve mollusks known as Delectopecten randolphi cling to the tire in the Minami-Shiribeshi Knoll, at about 9,800 feet deep.
The second video shows a rubber tire on the gravelly sand of the Nankai Trough, at about 900 feet below the surface.
Just add lobster
Seafood jokes are still cool, right? Japan’s marine agency spotted this metal cooking pot some 10,600 feet deep off the island of Sanriku.
Where’s the dryer?
This washing machine turned up in 1997 the Sagami Bay, at around 4,320 feet below the surface.
Hopefully these images will remind you to properly dispose of your mannequin heads, and maybe just avoid dolls entirely. And please. Recycle. We’re begging you.
All video credits: JAMSTEC E-Library of Deep-Sea Images