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Scientific Sailing Expedition Kicks Off to Safeguard Oceans from Plastic Pollution

Scientific Sailing Expedition Kicks Off to Safeguard Oceans from Plastic Pollution

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On Sunday, March 15, the “Race for Water Odyssey” (R4WO) raised anchor in Bordeaux. Its crew aims to draw up the first global assessment of plastic pollution in oceans.

It was a thrilling moment when the R4WO left Bordeaux 15 March 2015 to start its round the world expedition. (Photo courtesy of: Race for Water)

It was a thrilling moment when the R4WO left Bordeaux 15 March 2015 to start its round the world expedition. (Photo courtesy of: Race for Water)

The “Race for Water Odyssey” (R4WO) has cut to the chase by dropping anchor in Bordeaux, the expedition’s departure city. Initiated by the “Race for Water” Foundation, the R4WO aims to draw up the first global assessment of plastic pollution in oceans.

In 300 days, the expedition crew will cover over 40,000 nautical miles in a specially designed catamaran, stopping off to conduct 11 scientific studies and 9 outreach events, involving a total of 13 countries.

UNEP is collaborating with the Race for Water Foundation through its Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML) to raise awareness on the need to protect human health and the global environment through the reduction and management of marine litter.

Litter is found in all the world’s oceans and seas, even in remote areas far from human contact and obvious sources of the problem. The continuous growth in the amount of solid waste thrown away, and the very slow rate of degradation of most items, are together leading to a gradual increase in marine litter found at sea, on the sea floor and coastal shores.

Upon raising it’s anchor, the R4WO crew embarks on their expedition with the intention of gaining knowledge about waste gyres in less than one year. Even though they constitute a major environmental disaster, these immense pollution zones in oceans are in fact still relatively unknown. The goal of this scientific sailing expedition is to draw up an initial global assessment.

The whole crew just before departure, with race ambassador Anne Richard. (Photo courtesy of: Race for Water)

The whole crew just before departure, with race ambassador Anne Richard.
(Photo courtesy of: Race for Water)

The R4WO also aims to raise awareness on marine pollution, a vital exploit, considering that an estimated 80 per cent of the trash polluting the oceans comes from human activities.

About the Race for Water Foundation

Founded in Lausanne in 2010, the “Race for Water” Foundation’s mission is to preserve our planet’s most valuable resource: water. The foundation is an officially recognized non-profit organization seeking to implement concrete and sustainable actions, focusing on two main themes: protecting oceans and freshwater. “Race for Water” initiates projects aimed at raising awareness and taking concrete action on the ground. These actions are directed at four target audiences: economic players, political bodies, the scientific community, and the general public, with particular emphasis on future generations.

About the Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML)

The GPML was launched in June 2012 at Rio + 20 in Brasil. The GPML, besides being supportive of the Global Partnership on Waste Management, seeks to protect human health and the global environment by the reduction and management of marine litter as its main goal, through several specific objectives. The GPML is a voluntary multistakeholder coordination mechanism gathering international agencies, Governments, NGOs, academia, private sector, and civil society in which all partners agree to work together to further reduce and better manage marine litter.

Click here to follow the crew’s adventure live.

(Story courtesy of UNEP News Centre)

Avatar of Coral Triangle Written by Coral Triangle

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