Plastic pollution including water bottles has been found 400 feet (120m) below the ocean’s surface during an expedition down a sinkhole known as the Blue Hole.

Virgin founder Richard Branson is behind the project off the coast of Belize, which set out to explore the complex cave system. 

The Blue hole was once on dry land but became submerged around 10,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age. 

It is hoped the information gathered during the expedition will shed more light on how climate change has impacted the planet over the course of millennia. 

The expedition at the popular tourist site deployed two three-man submersible submarines.

Branson and Fabien Cousteau – an ocean conservationist, documentary maker, and grandson of famed explorer Jacques Cousteau – spent hours deep inside the Blue Hole. 

Two large floating vessels were also on hand to provide research and logistical support. 

The team of divers and scientists performed a 3D scan of the site, including a sonar scan of the interior using military-grade technology.

In a blog about the expedition, Branson wrote: ‘The real monsters facing the ocean are climate change – and plastic. Sadly, we saw plastic bottles at the bottom of the hole, which is a real scourge of the ocean. We’ve all got to get rid of single-use plastic.’ 

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