(NEW YORK) — An American explorer has set a new deep diving record in the Mariana Trench, and in the process uncovered just how far human waste can travel.
Victor Vescovo has successfully completed a solo dive in the Pacific Ocean to Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, commonly known as the deepest point on planet Earth.
“Personally being able to make the dive was just absolutely exhilarating,” Vescovo told ABC News.
Vescovo went nearly seven miles deep or 35,853 feet, that’s 52 feet more than any person has ever gone. He also became the first human to make multiple solo dives to Challenger Deep.
At the deepest point on the planet, Vescovo found what looked like plastic.
“It’s just an unfortunate consequence of multiple billions people on earth and all we consume,” he said.
An estimated 8 million tons of plastic are thrown into the ocean annually.
It wasn’t all grim findings, Vescovo also discovered at least three new species of marine life, including a shrimp with extra long legs, and collected rocks from an area where humans have never been.
His submarine, ‘Limiting Factor’ also made history.
“We dove to the bottom of the Mariana Trench five times in 10 days, it had had two visits in 60 years before we went there,” Vescovo said.
The ‘Five Deeps’ expedition has already successfully reached the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, Southern Ocean, Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. Vescovo is planning to complete his historic expedition in late August when he dives the Molloy Deep in the Arctic Ocean.
First, Vescovo will dive to the second deepest trench in the Pacific, the Tonga Trench, he says there is a slim chance it could actually be deeper than the Mariana Trench.
Diving isn’t Vescovo’s only passion — he’s also a climber. Once he finishes his last dive in August, he will be the only person to ever summit the highest mountain on each continent and go to the lowest point of each ocean. He will have been to the “roof of the world,” Mt. Everest, and its floor, the Mariana Trench.
“I always had the urge to explore, even as a little kid,” Vescovo said.
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