Jun 14, 2016
Saving Our Oceans: A Race Against Time
This week, on a bright, sunny summer day in Honolulu, the MOD70 Race for Water Converted Trimaran Ship and its crew will sail into dock at Kewalo Harbor arriving from its last stop in Valparaiso, South America.
Their arrival in Honolulu is its eighth stop on an eighteen-stop trip around the globe. The ship's purpose? To highlight the harmful effects of debris (namely plastic) on our ecosystem and its surrounding population, by creating the first global report on plastic pollution in the oceans.
Every year, over 25 million tons of plastic waste end up in the sea. We must act as quickly as possible to preserve the planet's most important ecosystem. As I have observed during my career, no coastline is safe from this pollution; it really is time to do something. It is natural for me to use my seafaring skills in service of the sea—this vital resource that is truly endangered today.
According to Race for Water, 250 million tons of plastic is produced every year, 10% of which ends up floating around at sea. As a result 1 million birds are killed annually, while marine ecosystems are threatened due to entanglement and colonization of invasive species. Additionally, as plastic traverses the seas, it begins to deteriorate into micro-flakes that are invisible to the eye and impossible to detect. The flakes are easily ingestible causing a rise of potential vectors for toxic material, in turn contaminating the human food chain.
Simultaneously as this waste deteriorates it floats along the ocean's currents, often for years, before finally collecting in what is known as a vortex or ocean gyre. These vortexes are large whirlpools that are created by the ocean's circulation of water. The slow, rotating motion creates calm areas where debris can easily accumulate. To-date, five vortex areas have been identified: North and South Atlantic, North and South Pacific, and the South Indian Ocean.
In its efforts to combat and tailor solutions to this continuously growing issue, Race for Water conceptualized the Race for Water Odyssey - a unique expedition that aims to visit the beaches of islands (Hawaii included) located in the oceans' 5 vortexes of trash to investigate its effects on a global and local scale. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of the problems caused by plastic pollution, the Race for Water Foundation hopes to develop concrete solutions for collecting, evaluating and recycling plastic waste.
In the meantime, the Race for Water Odyssey is striving to raise international interest about plastic pollution in the ocean, in both the public and political arenas.
The <<Race for Water>> foundation is an organization that is dedicated to preserving water. Today, this resource, which is critical for life, is in very serious danger: it must absolutely be protected. The foundation aims to bring together the public, institutions, and decision-makers and address two essential topics: the preservation of oceans and fresh water. In order to fulfill its mission and find concrete solutions, the <<Race for Water>> foundation develops programs containing actions aimed at four target audiences, who play a key role in the preservation of these resources: the general public, key figures in economics, political leaders, children, and scientists.
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