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An international team of scientists, celebrities, and environmental citizens is set to complete a trans-Pacific voyage to combat plastic pollution.
Auckland—Viaduct Harbour is 10,500 kilometers away from Marina del Rey, California.
By air the trip takes 13 hours, but when you’re navigating a sailboat and gathering data on marine plastic pollution, it’s a six-month journey through seven different nations that’s set to conclude this upcoming week at a landing event in Auckland.
Captained by Hollywood actor Phil Somerville, Eat Less Plastic is an environmental mission that’s raising awareness about marine debris and gathering data on microplastics through a partnership with the 5 Gyres Trawl Share Program.
The November 16th landing event will take place in Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour and will be preceded by an event on November 14th at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron building. The November 14th fundraising event will be co-hosted by Dominic Bowden from Dancing With The Stars New Zealand, and Chris Dickson, a former CEO of the America’s Cup yachting race.
Aside from recording and gathering data from across the South Pacific, the crew has been working with local communities from Tahiti to Tonga and Fiji to Niue to engage in cleanups, speak with school groups, and educate islanders about finding alternatives to harmful single use plastics.
As the crew prepares to sail into Auckland, they do so at a time when New Zealand retailers are transitioning away from single use plastics through a ban on plastic bags.
According to New Zealand Associate Minister for the Environment, Eugenie Sage, “the data on plastic pollution that the Eat Less Plastic crew has gathered during their voyage across the Pacific highlights the urgency for all of us to make big changes in our lives and businesses.”
Throughout the journey, the message has always been one of hope that aims to inspire future generations toward making a positive change. The crew has partnered with an array of non-profits including Love The Sea, Sustainable Coastlines, Sea Cleaners, Bags Not, Algalita South Pacific, and Ocean Ambassadors.
“Simply put, says Somerville, “plastic particles are killing whales, dolphins, turtles, birds—almost every living marine creature in the ocean is affected. It’s in our ecosystem. It’s in our food chain. Therefore we, too, are literally eating plastic, so I’ve decided to do something about it.”