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Ocean Microplastics Crisis Laid Bare by Volvo Ocean Race study

By Matthew CampelliSport Sustainability Journal

A sample is collected off the coast of Melbourne, Australia (Credit: Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race)

A sample is collected off the coast of Melbourne, Australia (Credit: Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race)

The shocking level of plastic that resides in the ocean has been laid bare by a study carried out by Volvo Ocean Race, which found microplastic in almost every water sample it collected.

As many as 349 particles of microplastics per cubic metre were found in a sample collected in the South China Sea, while 307 particles per cubic metre were collected where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Indeed, of the 68 samples collected over the course of the race – from departing Alicante in October 2017, to its complete global circumnavigation to Cardiff in May 2018 – only two samples contained no microplastics, a sample collected off the south coast of Australia and one from the east coast of Argentina.

The most recent sample taken, off the US coast of Newport, Rhode Island, 75 particles of microplastics were found per cubic metre.

Even a sample collected close to the waters of uninhabited Antarctica found microplastics were as high as 25 particles per cubic metre.

Microplastic samples have been analysed by members of the Volvo Ocean Race’s scientific consortium in Germany. Those findings will now be presented at the Volvo Ocean Race Summit in The Hague, Netherlands, by Dr Toste Tanhua, of GEOMAR Institute for Ocean Research, today.

“Thanks to the great cooperation of the Volvo Ocean Race and the teams on the water, we have been able to collect a very valuable and unique data set during the race which we have been able to share with the wider scientific community,” said Dr Tanhua.

Read the full article here.

Land Rover BAR share 35th America’s Cup Bermuda Sustainability Report

Land Rover BAR

2017.12.21-LandRoverBAR-IMAGE

Land Rover BAR training on R1 in Bermuda. Photo credit: Land Rover BAR.

Six months after returning to the UK from Bermuda – where the team were based for the 35th America’s Cup – Land Rover BAR are now sharing their learnings and achievements in the Bermuda Sustainability Report; namely that large sporting events present a unique opportunity to leave a lasting legacy and a positive impact in the communities where they are hosted.

The report covers the activities undertaken in preparation for and during the team’s relocation to the island at the end of 2016, through to their return home to Portsmouth in July 2017, and has been created in collaboration with the team’s Exclusive Sustainability Partner, 11th Hour Racing.

Land Rover BAR was publicly launched in June 2014, with the goal to win the America’s Cup alongside becoming one of the most sustainable sports teams in the world. In these three years the team have scored many firsts, one of which was to become the first professional sports team in the UK to construct and operate from a BREEAM excellent standard building.

The team was determined to have as minimal an operational impact on Bermuda as possible, through extensive resource planning of the team base and featuring modular design for easy and low waste construction and deconstruction; to create a space that would need to function as a VIP hospitality lounge, a specialist manufacturing facility, a training set-up for the sailing team, a design office and a public interactive exploration zone. The team’s Sustainability Manager, Amy Munro, was particularly focused on finding useful reuse options within the local community and charities, or effective recycling when the team left the island.

Read the full story.

Volvo Ocean Race Scientific Data Reveals Millions of Tiny Plastic Particles in European Waters

The findings, revealed by scientists at the Cape Town Ocean Summit, have been discovered using data collected by Volvo Ocean Race yachts

by Jonno Turner
Volvo Ocean Race

Cape Town stopover. Dee Caffari during the Ocean Summit. Photo by Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race. 07 December, 2017.

Cape Town stopover. Dee Caffari during the Ocean Summit. Photo by Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race. 07 December, 2017.

Millions of tiny particles of plastic have been detected in European waters in ground breaking scientific research conducted as part of the Volvo Ocean Race.

The scientific research, using data collected by Race team ‘Turn the Tide on Plastic’, identified over three million micro plastic particles per square kilometre of ocean.

The sub-surface data on micro plastic pollution levels was collected using a state-of-the-art instrument on board their Volvo Ocean 65 racing yacht.

The initial results, gathered during the Prologue stage and Leg 1 of the Race, between Lisbon and Alicante, were presented by Dr Toste Tanhua during the first morning of the two-day Volvo Ocean Race Ocean Summit, held in the event’s Cape Town stopover on Thursday. The samples collected during Leg 2 are currently being analysed and results will be revealed in due course.

“Our initial findings suggest that the levels of micro plastic in the ocean are significantly higher than we first expected,” said Tanhua, who works at GEOMAR, an ocean research institute in Kiel, Germany.

“This is alarming as the micro plastic not only harms a wide range of marine life, but, through entering the food chain, in species such as tuna and mackerel, can cause harm to humans, too.”

Micro plastic is small particles of plastic often invisible to the naked eye – and can take thousands of years to degrade.

Tanhua continued: “Existing scientific data only accounts for around 1% of all plastic in the ocean – but thanks to the support of Volvo Ocean Race and Volvo Cars, and the efforts of the Turn the Tide on Plasti c team in conducting this research, we’re building a knowledge base which is essential to ocean science around the globe.”

Read the full story here.

 

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