Sav­ing our oceans

Yachting Monthly - - CRUISING LOG -

‘MORE PLAS­TIC THAN FISH IN OCEANS’

‘If no ac­tion is taken by 2050 there will be more plas­tic than fish in the oceans,’ warned an MEP dur­ing the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment vote to ban sin­gle-use plas­tics. The de­ci­sion, which was backed by 571 to 53, was de­scribed by MEP Frédérique Ries as a ‘vic­tory for our oceans’.

Plas­tic cut­lery and plates, cot­ton buds, straws, drink-stir­rers and bal­loon sticks are in­cluded in the ban, which is hoped to come into ef­fect in 2021.

Pub­lic sup­port against plas­tic pol­lu­tion surged fol­low­ing David At­ten­bor­ough’s Blue Planet, and the

UK’S re­cent Ocean Film Fes­ti­val.

In­creased me­dia cov­er­age and height­ened pub­lic aware­ness also led to a record turnout for the Great British

Beach Clean. The four-day event in Septem­ber at­tracted 15,000 vol­un­teers, dou­ble that of 2017. En­cour­ag­ingly, lit­ter was down 16% year-on-year. How­ever, vol­un­teers still amassed a whop­ping 8,550kg of waste, with an av­er­age of 16 bot­tles and cans for ev­ery 100m stretch of beach.

It’s not just plas­tic bot­tles that are pol­lut­ing the ocean, as record-break­ing duo Stew Edge and Is­lay Sy­mon­ette found out. While kitesurf­ing around Bri­tain to raise funds for the Ma­rine Con­ser­va­tion So­ci­ety, they re­trieved 20,000 pieces of lit­ter, half of which was dis­carded fish­ing gear.

‘That was the most up­set­ting part for me,’ said Is­lay. ‘The beaches were cov­ered in it – es­pe­cially the re­mote ones around Scot­land that you could only reach by boat. We found plas­tic gloves, dis­carded pots and thou­sands of pieces of bro­ken up polypropy­lene rope.’

WANTED: 300 FE­MALE CREW

Ap­pli­ca­tions are now open for an all-fe­male cir­cum­nav­i­ga­tion de­signed to raise aware­ness of plas­tics and tox­ics.

The 38,000-mile voy­age, exxpe­di­tion, sets sail in Oc­to­ber, and is look­ing for 300 women to crew the 30 legs of the voy­age.

As well as tak­ing part in sci­en­tific re­search, crew mem­bers are ex­pected to con­trib­ute fi­nan­cially to the voy­age, with legs vary­ing be­tween five and 23 days at sea.

‘The plas­tic pol­lu­tion chal­lenge our ocean faces is a global one,’ says ex­pe­di­tion di­rec­tor and skip­per Emily Penn, who re­cently re­turned from the Great Pa­cific Garbage Patch – an ac­cu­mu­la­tion of ocean plas­tic now twice the size of Texas.

‘This is our big­gest project yet. We’re look­ing for amaz­ing women with a pas­sion to pro­tect our ocean to come for­ward.’

To ap­ply, visit www.exxpe­di­tion.com. No sail­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is nec­es­sary.

Plas­tic and dis­carded fish­ing gear is blight­ing our coast­line

Blue/ Ocean Film Fes­ti­val

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