Women-only crew on two-year sea voyage to tackle plastic pollution

Ten members of the public – including a police constable and yoga teacher – are setting sail on a two-year scientific trip to analyse ocean plastics.
The all-women expedition will depart from Plymouth on Tuesday and call at 30 destinations around the globe – with 300 women in total taking part in different legs of the trip.

The Exxpedition mission is headed up by Sky Ocean Rescue ambassador Emily Penn.

Image: The boat will begin its two-year journey from Plymouth on Tuesday
She told Sky News that bringing people from all walks of life on-board will hopefully increase the scope for finding solutions to tackling ocean plastics.
“What I’ve realised working on the plastics problem is that there’s no silver bullet solution for solving the issue, but the great news is there’s hundreds of things we can be doing,” Ms Penn said.

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“To bring those solutions to life we need people from all different skill sets, backgrounds and expertise.

“We need scientists, alongside artists, teachers, designers, and policy makers and industry leaders, to work on those solutions.”

More from Sky Ocean Rescue

Image: Emily Penn inspects plastic pollution dumped in Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean
The trip is called Exxpedition to represent the female chromosome (XX).
It is entirely made up of female guests and crew members to highlight the under-representation of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) industries, reported to be just 13%.

Image: Some of microplastics collected during a recent trip
The research ship will visit four of the five oceanic gyres (circulating ocean currents), where ocean plastic is known to accumulate, and the Arctic.
The trip will span 38,000 nautical miles with the first stop the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean, where 10 new women will join the ship.

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Among the first 10 who have paid to take part is Kirsty Young from London who works as a firearms officer for the Ministry of Defence.
“It’s the fact to an ordinary person like me it’s so unseen,” she said.
“I do my bit, I recycle. Going out there and seeing it for myself and hopefully being a bit shocked by what I see and the results we get on the boat I really hope that will encourage me to go back and tell my story.”
Participants on the first leg come from the UK, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Croatia, Canada, USA and Germany.
The scientific tests carried out on-board and on samples sent back to land are being led by the University of Plymouth.
Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign encourages people to reduce their single-use plastics. You can find out more about the campaign and how to get involved at www.skyoceanrescue.com

Source : Sky News