Compiled by Binzy Reynolds:
An all-female crew is set to embark on a fact-finding mission across the Pacific to learn more about plastic pollution.
Known as ‘eXXpedition North Pacific,’ the voyage will cross the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”, densest ocean plastic zone on the planet.
With a range of skills, the team on the research vessel Sea Dragon will journey more than 3,000 nautical miles, studying micro-plastics and links to environmental and human health.
The crew, due to set out today (25 June), will be led by ocean advocate Emily Penn and on leg one Emily Duncan, a PhD researcher from the University of Exeter, will be the head of science.
“I am excited to head out on the voyage now,” said Duncan.
“We have many exciting projects to collect data for on board which will really aid in building a better picture of the extent of the plastic pollution out in the North Pacific.”
The voyage, in collaboration with recycling company TOMRA, will begin from Honolulu, Hawaii, and will be divided into two legs – first travelling to Vancouver and then to Seattle.
The crew will consist of 24 women from Britain, USA, Canada, Slovenia, Norway and Honduras.
They include scientists, students, artists, filmmakers, business women, psychologists, actors, ocean activists and sustainability professionals, and novice as well as experienced sailors.
They aim to raise awareness of the devastating impact of single-use plastic in the world’s oceans, celebrate women in science, leadership and adventure, and help create a community of inspiring female global ambassadors.
Mission leader Emily Penn, co-founder of eXXpedition, said: “Bold, exciting and innovative science into ocean plastic and toxics is at the heart of all eXXpedition voyages.
“This year, we are seeing a shift in scientific focus.
“Scientists still want to know how much plastic is out there and where it is, but they also want to know which toxic chemicals are on the surface of it, whether organisms are growing on it and what the impacts might be on wildlife, and on us.”