The Minderoo Foundation, a global philanthropic organisation, is committed to returning the world’s oceans to a flourishing state and announced a US$300 million commitment for a new industry-focused initiative to end worldwide plastic waste at the United Nations in late 2019.
While Sanders, aged 80, is undertaking his 11th solo circumnavigation of the globe, Bertish is a big wave surfer known for his Guinness World Record which saw him stand-up paddle board his way across the Atlantic Ocean, taking 93 days to travel 7500km from Morocco to Antigua in the Caribbean.
The two adventurers and ocean pioneers have more than just incredible feats of endurance in common. They also share a passion and commitment for reversing the environmental damage occurring in global waterways.
Meeting at Cape Town’s iconic Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Sanders and Bertish shared their experiences and highlighted the mission of Minderoo Foundation’s #NoPlasticWaste message.
With the support of the Minderoo Foundation, Sanders is using his latest circumnavigation to collect water samples for analysis by researchers at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. The results will build a more detailed picture of the micro plastic pollution across the oceans of the Southern Hemisphere.
Estimates suggest that plastic costs more than US$2.2 trillion a year in environmental and social damage. New plastics remain cheaper to make from fossil fuels than recycled polymers – an economic reality which has led to recycling rates of only 9 per cent across the globe.
Bertish said that the plastic waste issue was highly visible throughout Africa and during his entire Atlantic crossing.
“This challenge has reached global crisis proportions,” Bertish said. “Where we are seeing plastic and single use plastics littered across all oceans and beaches, not just locally in South Africa, but Africa and globally.
“We need to act now and work together to address this challenge all over the world and it’s inspiring to see someone of Jon’s age continue to use his adventure to highlight this message for future generations. As custodians for our world and oceans, we need to do our part, not just by talking about it, but by taking action. Together, through conservation, education, action and collaboration we can make the change we wish to see in the world today and for our future.”
Sanders’ stop in Cape Town is his first significant docking since taking off from Mauritius early in December. A short stop was required in Port Elizabeth to pick up supplies. His next destination will be St Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.
“It’s a pleasure to be in Cape Town raising awareness for such an important issue – we need people to sit up and take notice because if we don’t act now our oceans and our marine life will be irreversibly damaged,” Sanders said.
Sanders encouraged people concerned about plastic waste to make their voices heard by signing the Minderoo Foundation’s #NoPlasticWaste petition.
“The petition calls on individuals to pledge their support for world and business leaders to commit to recycled plastics,” he said.