Environment

Female round-the-world crew to fight ocean plastic

Plastic trail: Marine experts have said that there could be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050.

Plastic trail: Marine experts have said that there could be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050.  

The research will focus on finding tailored solutions

More than 300 women will join a round-the-world voyage launching in October to highlight the devastating impact of plastic pollution in the oceans and conduct scientific research into the escalating crisis.

Millions of tonnes of plastic, from food packaging to fishing gear enters the sea each year, leading some marine experts to warn that there could be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050.

The two-year all-female voyage comprises scientists, teachers, filmmakers, product designers, photographers and athletes. It is organised by eXXpedition, a non-profit focusing on marine pollution - will collect samples from some of the planet’s most important and diverse marine environments to build a picture of the state of the seas. The 38,000 nautical mile trip will cover the Arctic, the Galapagos Islands, the South Pacific islands and central ocean areas where plastic accumulates because of circulating currents.

“One of the things that still gets me is when you are 1,000 miles from the nearest human being and then you see a toothbrush float past,” mission director Emily Penn said, adding that 8 million tonnes of plastic ended up in the sea every year where it broke down into tiny fragments, the same size as plankton.

“There’s a misconception that there are islands of plastic out there that you can see, but it’s more like a soup. It’s fine fragments,” said Ms. Penn. She said the solution was to “turn off the tap” on land and stop the plastic entering the sea in the first place. The research will focus on identifying the types of plastic and finding tailored solutions.

“There’s not one silver bullet solution. We need to be working from every sector, from every angle. “We need design of new materials, we need policy change, we need education, we need the arts to be shifting mindsets, we need engineers. The only way we are going to solve it is by all working together,” Ms. Penn said.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 1:04:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/female-round-the-world-crew-to-fight-ocean-plastic/article28363405.ece

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