Spam is everywhere

Spam can in the Mariana TrenchWhich includes, yes, the “most remote place on the planet.” The caption on this picture, as reproduced in the Guardian: “A container of Spam rests at 4,947 meters on the slopes of a canyon leading to the Sirena Deep in the Mariana trench. Photograph: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration.” Three miles down! Is this unusual? Not in the slightest:

Small crustaceans that live in the pitch-black waters of the trench, captured by a robotic submarine, were contaminated with 50 times more toxic chemicals than crabs that survive in heavily polluted rivers in China.

Not a good sign. Remember PCBs? They’ve never truly gone away:

PCBs were manufactured from the 1930s to the 1970s, when their appalling impact on people and wildlife was realised. About a third of the 1.3m tonnes produced has already leaked into coastal sediments and the open oceans, with a steady stream still thought to be coming from poorly protected landfill sites.

And “landfill” may explain the artifact pictured above:

An expedition conducted by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last year also found various manmade items on the slopes leading to the Sirena Deep, part of the Mariana trench, and the nearby Enigma Seamount. They included a tin of Spam, a can of Budweiser beer and several plastic bags.

The appalling impact of Budweiser beer has long been established.

(Via Holly Brockwell.)



  1. fillyjonk »

    14 February 2017 · 1:36 pm

    I was hoping that photo captured the “sell by” date on the bottom of the can so one could make a stab at how long it had been down there. (Seeing as it’s the “25% less sodium” kind, probably not that long….I had imaginings of it being part of the detritus from a bombed-out ship from WWII but clearly it is not)

  2. Dink Newcomb »

    15 February 2017 · 7:48 am

    I made three Westpac cruises on a carrier (’68 ’69. ’70). Dry trash (paper, cardboard, etc) disposal in those old days was gather trash in early trash bags, carry them to the fan tail and pitch them over the stern where the FLOATED at least until out of sight in the wake. I often wonder what the Navy does today?
    I was an Aviation Ordnance man working below decks in bomb buildup. We had a trash wagon about 8′ l x 3 1/2′ h x4′ w and on a normal day’s ops we would take the bomb elevator to the roof and dump its load over the side several times. Bombs are modular devices that can be pretty highly customized and there was lots of trash– a fuse/booster receptacle in nose and butt with plastic plugs to protect the threads (right, like I never heard that joke before), and a heavy metal cover of the whole end of the bomb to protect the groove for the tailfin setscrew channel. Add styro foam, plastic and paper packing for fuses/boosters/missiles/flares, and we generated huge trash piles on the floor of the Tonkin Gulf or just floating away.
    Then, factor in all the offices, workshops, berthing spaces and mess decks feeding 3,500 men and you are talking about prodigious quantities of waste– even 5gal buckets of uneaten chow.

  3. jsallison »

    15 February 2017 · 8:51 pm

    Dang, and we had our butts busted for OPSEC if we left a cigarette butt behind.

    On another note, while working at Sheppard AFB Hospital one of our admin sorts had a shrine to Spam, I kid you not. Turned out one of the local lieutenants went round the bend, so to speak and after being ‘contained’ a search of his quarters revealed his shrine to Spam. And he wasn’t even Hawaiian. Said admin weenie transferred the shrine in toto to his office, where we paid periodic obeisance. And no one afaik dared crack open any of the cans. The newest at the time (2006) had a sell by date of 2002.

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