EXXPEDITION ROUND THE WORLD
October 2019 – April 2021
In October 2019, eXXpedition embarked on a pioneering sailing voyage and research mission to circumnavigate the globe. The mission set out to sail 30 voyages and 300 multidisciplinary women 38,000 nautical miles through some of the densest plastic accumulation zones, to tackle the devastating environmental and health impacts of single-use plastic and toxics in the world’s ocean. Eight voyage legs were completed, including crossing the Atlantic, exploring the Carribean, sailing to the Galapagos and Easter Island, then finally across the South Pacific Gyre to Tahiti. Sailing activities stopped in April 2020 due to safety concerns of COVID-19.
80 MULTIDISCIPLINARY WOMEN
FROM 28 NATIONALITIES
Making landfall in the Azores, Antigua, Bonaire, Aruba, Panama, Galapagos, Rapa Nui and Tahiti, our diverse crew has included teachers, marine biologists, film makers, circular economy experts, entrepreneurs and more.
261 SAMPLES COLLECTED
during the voyage
Science on Land
72 Waste Management Surveys
The Circularity Assessment Protocol (CAP) involves the collection of community-level data by each crew in the countries eXXpedition visit. This includes mismanaged waste and waste infrastructure, and will be put into use informing decisions about how to reduce land-based plastic pollution. To date, the crew have logged 10,458 items into the Marine Debris Tracker.
PRELIMINARY MANTA TRAWL FINDINGS
We found the greatest total number of microplastics in surface waters on Leg 2, through the North Atlantic gyre. However, the largest amount we found in a single trawl (over 300 pieces of plastics) was on Leg 5.
Ten different polymer types have been identified (using PerkinElmer’s Spectrum two FTIR spectrometer)
On every voyage leg, Polyethylene has dominated the manta trawl samples, with between 55% – 82% of the microplastics identified as ‘polyethylene’ (HDPE/PE)
Polypropylene and polyamide were identified to have a next highest contributions to the total of microplastics.
ENGAGING LOCAL COMMUNITIES
During eXXpedition Round the World we conducted 34 outreach events and engagements in nine countries including school talks, crew presentations, workshops, meeting the village elders in Guna Yala, beach clean ups and industry specific events.
In collaboration with our local partners, we worked closely with local leaders and communities in every stop of our Round the World mission. Whether it’s through talks, meetings, sharing samples with local researchers, or helping support the implementation of local science programmes – like IBLab in Aruba – establishing a relationship with local leaders is key to furthering our impact long after our sailing vessel sets sail.
During the first 6 months of eXXpedition Round the World, our Mission Leaders met with Prime Ministers, Governor-Generals, Environmental Ministers, NGO Leaders, the Elders of the Guna Yala (San Blas) Congreso and other key representatives.
MAKING SHIFTS GLOBALLY
Back on land, the women taking part in our mission have been busy sharing their experience with the world. Our crew have hosted over 120 events in 14 countries and shared their stories through interviews, blogs, talks and workshops.