San Diego. Marine scientists found what they said could be up to 25,000 barrels of DDT off the coast of Southern California near Santa Catalina Island, where there was a suspected underwater dump of toxic waste from WWII.
Researchers from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego took pictures of 27,345 barrel-shaped objects. They mapped more than 14,500 hectares of seabed between Santa Catalina Island and the Los Angeles coast, in an area where high levels of the toxin were previously discovered in sediments and in the ecosystem.
The Scripps Institute said historical marine records show that industrial firms in Southern California used the basin as a dumping ground until 1972, when the Marine Conservation, Research and Sanctuary Act was enacted.
The exact location and size of the spill was not yet known.
Eric Terrell, the scientist in charge of the expedition and director of the Marine Physics Laboratory at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, said the area covered was “alarming”.
“It really surprised everyone who made this data and sailed the sea,” he told reporters on Monday.
He said the study provides a “map of a large area” of the barrels, although it is up to others to confirm, by taking sediment samples, that they contain DDT.
The long-term impact on human and marine life is still unclear, said Leheny Aloheer, a chemist oceanographer and professor of earth sciences at Scripps, who in 2015 co-authored a study that found large amounts of DDT and other man-made chemicals. a favour. Fat dolphins that died of natural causes.
“These results also raise doubts about the continued exposure and potential impact on the health of marine mammals, especially after it was proven that DDT has a multi-generational effect on humans,” said Al-Wahairy, who was not part of the expedition. “How this huge amount of product in sediments has been diverted by communities on the sea floor over time and how the chemical and its degradation products enter the marine food chain are questions that will continue to be analyzed.”
Scientists conducted the study between March 10 and 24 after the newspaper was published Los Angeles Times Last year, I published a report on evidence of a DDT leak off the coast of Santa Catalina