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WATCH: Sailing our seas on a plastics mission

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8:10am 8th August 2017

An all-female crew are setting sail from Plymouth towards Cornwall later, to check the UK's waters for plastic pollution.

Scientists, students and activists are among the eXXpedition team circumnavigating the British Isles.

The trip is expected to take 30 days, to raise awareness about the damage it can do to marine life.

Emily Penn is among the sailors on board and says they will be holding events to help educate people.

She said: "We're going to be doing some beach clean-ups and really trying to open up this conversation about the issue of plastics and toxics, so we can then start forming the solutions with businesses and with governments and with us, as individual actions, to actually create that change".

Tanya Ferry is also on the crew. She normally works on the River Thames but explains why she got involved: "There's an awful lot of issues around plastics and the litter that comes out of the Thames and ends up in our seas.

"I wanted to understand how the Thames looks within the UK context. Is it a problem just for the Thames or is it the wider problem? Can I build that story into the work we do in the Thames itself?"

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The eXXpedition group has set up a Crowdfunder page to raise the final £5000 the team will need to complete the £20'000 trip.

Posting on the page, they said: "Microbeads in toiletries, cosmetics and cleaning products, single-use packaging, water bottles, nurdles, persistent organic pollutants found in most everyday products are devastating in their effects on oceans, ecosystems, aquatic life, mammals - and us.

"In the ocean, plastic debris injures and kills fish, seabirds and marine mammals. Marine plastic pollution has impacted at least 267 species worldwide, including 86% of all sea turtle species, 44% of all seabird species and 43% of all marine mammal species. The impacts include fatalities as a result of ingestion, starvation, suffocation, infection, drowning, and entanglement.

"We are building on this growing awareness by researching and publicising what is to be found in the waters closest to our home in the British Isles, where we swim, surf, sail, snorkel and fish".

What the project wants to achieve:

  • Highlight the extent of the pollution all around the UK through sampling
  • Highlight how purchases of single-use or unnecessary plastics contribute to the problem
  • Provide opportunities for discussion of purchasing choices with communities around Britain, connecting to personal and environmental health and to disposal and recycling
  • Connect with NGOs and community groups to join up dots and support each others campaign goals to STOP OCEAN PLASTIC
  • Provide opportunities to discuss devolved policies with UK governments

Watch how the team have been preparing for the trip...

8:10am 8th August 2017

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