WRITTEN BY ANN JENKINS
ON LEG ONE FROM PLYMOUTH TO AZORES WITH ROTHY’S

 

As dawn was breaking, a styrofoam take-out container was spied by the Watch Team. Everyone was shocked to see it floating more than 200 nautical miles (400km) from land. Where did it come from? How did it get this far?

The plastic we find out here is anonymous and it’s both fascinating and overwhelming when you appreciate the vastness of the sea and wonder how did this particular piece of plastic make its way from land to sea.

Observing this mysterious piece of plastic litter so far from land raised a discussion
around the mismanagement of litter from both a recycling and manufacturing perspective. It also reminded us of the Circularity Assessment that took place on land before we departed Plymouth. Three teams were scattered to nearby computer-generated locations to collect data using the Marine Debris App. Each group traversed 100m in three different locations and diligently identified numerous bits and pieces of litter and compostable debris. The data will be used by Dr Jenna Jambeck, University of Georgia USA to pinpoint where the solutions lie. Which types of waste are making their way to the ocean? What can we do to solve this problem?