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 take 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 the impact on safety of COVID-19.
Information on page last updated: April 2020
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, filmmakers, 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 have analysed more than 2200 individual microplastics!
The largest amount we found in a single trawl was recorded near the San Blas islands (leg 5): nearly 500 pieces of plastic.
The next most abundant locations were in the North Atlantic Gyre (leg 2).
The majority of microplastics are ‘secondary’ in their origin – resulting from the fragmentation of larger items.
‘Fragments’ dominated the samples (47% – 88%) with ‘film’ being the next most prevalent microplastics type (up to 35% of the total).
Twenty different polymer types have been identified (using PerkinElmer’s Spectrum two FTIR spectrometer)
On every voyage leg, Polyethylene (HDPE/PE) has dominated the manta trawl samples, comprising 81% of the microplastics identified.
Polypropylene had the next highest contributions to the total of microplastics identified.
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.
eXXpedition Round the World generated over 530 pieces of international media coverage, including News Reports, Specialist In-depth Features and Interviews across every continent (except Antarctica!). View all media coverage here.