Innovation That Matters

Environmental campaign

Yacht race draws attention to ocean plastic pollution

Nonprofit & Social Cause

An annual yacht race launches a campaign dedicated to raising awareness surrounding issues of ocean health.

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Eight million tonnes of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year. This correlates to a whole rubbish truck’s worth of trash every minute. We have seen a number of innovations aimed at cleaning litter from the ocean. These have included an ocean trash can and an enzyme that eats plastics. Moreover, in 2017, United Nations Environment launched the Clean Seas initiative. It was aimed at engaging governments, the general public, and business in the fight against marine plastic litter. Now, a group of sailors are promoting Clean Seas during one of the world’s toughest races – the Volvo Ocean Race.

The Turn the Tide on Plastic yacht team are competing in the eight-month race. They are sponsored by the non-profit Mirpuri Foundation, the Ocean Family Foundation and Sky Ocean Rescue. Furthermore, the team is led by Britain’s Dee Caffari – the first woman to sail single-handedly around the world westward, against the prevailing winds and currents. The team is made up of a multi-national group of people and is split 50-50 between men and women. The goal of the team is to draw awareness and support to Clean Seas, and especially to the production and consumption of non-recoverable and single-use plastics.

The Volvo Ocean Race is a 45,000-mile round-the-world race which is often described as one of the most gruelling sporting events on the planet. Unlike the other boats in the race, the Turn the Tide on Plastic boat carries a microplastic sampling unit, developed by German marine technology company SubCtech. The unit uses filters to capture microplastic particles from the water. The sampling unit uses the boat’s battery power, and can be run at the same time as the boat’s desalinator, saving energy. As it sails, the yacht draws attention to Clean Seas’ and the drive to reduce ocean litter. What other ways are there to draw attention to the goals of Clean Seas?



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