300 Women On A Voyage To Map Oceanic Plastic Pollution
An all-female multidisciplinary team is all set to cover oceans and gauge the harm plastic has exposed the water bodies to. Starting from October 2019, the team will be exploring the oceans for straight two years to measure the amount of plastic and toxic materials in oceans and meanwhile conduct research on how these elements are harmful to the environment.
The voyage, which is arranged for scientific research, is conducted by an organisation called ‘eXXpedition’. The scientific expedition will be covering around 38,000 nautical miles and 30 voyage legs. Starting from the United Kingdom, the voyage will end in the same destination. The move is being said to be a great step that may result in bettering the environment, especially in realising the exact amount of harm being done by the plastic pollutants. Ahead of this, certain measures can be taken which can at least, if not guarantee, help in bettering the present situation.
The voyage, which is arranged for scientific research, is conducted by an organisation called ‘eXXpedition’. The scientific expedition will be covering around 38,000 nautical miles and 30 voyage legs.
The global voyage expected to take two years will comprise of 300 women, including scientists, teachers, filmmakers, product designers, photographers and athletes of different ages, abilities and cultural backgrounds. eXXpedition aims to “enable the women to experience first-hand, the challenges the world faces from single-use plastics while contributing to cutting-edge scientific research and solutions based thinking.”
The co-founder and mission leader Emily Penn says, “The plastic pollution challenges our ocean faces is a global one and it will take an inspired army of passionate, skilled and experienced people to tackle it. This is our biggest project yet and by far the most challenging. We’re looking for amazing women with a passion to protect our ocean to come forward to join us.” The voyage is expected to end in September 2021.
The eXXpedition has also arranged similar all-women voyages in the past in the waters of the North Pacific, around Britain, the Caribbean and the US Great Lakes, among others. The first voyage to the Atlantic was organised in November 2014. The yacht discovery expedition vessel being used in the voyage is fitted with ‘a custom-built manta trawl, scientific equipment for the collection of samples and data, and plenty of collaborative space’, according to the organisation’s website.
The eXXpedition has also arranged similar all-women voyages in the past in the waters of the North Pacific, around Britain, the Caribbean and the US Great Lakes, among others.
The polluting rivers
According to a report from the World Economic Forum, 90% of the plastic that pollutes the oceans comes from only 10 rivers worldwide, eight of them being in Asia and two in Africa. Sadly, our revered river the Ganges to occupies a place among these eight ‘polluting’ rivers of Asia. Yangzte, which is Asia’s longest river and one of the most important rivers in the world ecologically, is also one of the rivers that is currently polluting our oceans.
Plastic production started around the 1950s, according to the National Geographic. Since then, we have around 9.2 billion tons of plastic stuff to deal with. Shockingly, more than 6.9 billion tons have now become waste since then and is deteriorating the quality of our environment and choking it too. Nearly 700 species of marine animals, including endangered ones, are known to have been affected by the plastic waste we keep on disposing of into the rivers.