Minderoo Foundation’s #NOPLASTICWASTE campaign has joined forces with Australian sailing icon Jon Sanders AO OBE as he attempts to circumnavigate the globe for an 11th time.
Minderoo Foundation’s involvement coincides with Mr Sanders’ own push to raise awareness of the amount of plastic ending up in the world’s oceans and the devastating impact it is having on marine life and ocean users such as himself.
Mr Sanders, 80, will depart Fremantle Sailing Club for the 10-month circumnavigation on 3rd November. He will take water samples during the voyage to determine the extent of microplastics in our oceans, predominantly south of the equator.
“As someone who has spent more than 60 years traversing and enjoying the world’s oceans, I cannot sit idly by and watch that same environment be choked to death with plastic waste,” Mr Sanders said.
“My voyage provides me with a unique opportunity to contribute to scientific research on microplastics as I travel across the Indian, Atlantic, Pacific and Southern oceans.”
In September, Minderoo Foundation launched a new industry-focused initiative to end worldwide plastic waste.
Called ‘Sea The Future’, the initiative is projected to raise in excess of US$20 billion annually for global recycling, collection and environmental remediation. Minderoo Foundation has committed to underwrite up to five years of audit fees for the initiative for a total cost of US$260 million, plus US$40 million in establishment costs, subject to appropriate conditions¹.
The #NOPLASTICWASTE campaign was simultaneously launched to explain the realities of plastics production, highlight the opportunity that exists and galvanize public support for the initiative.
Minderoo Foundation chairman Andrew Forrest AO said plastic pollution was the biggest and most imminent health and environmental threat facing our planet.
“Jon is an extraordinary Australian and we are proud to support his push to raise awareness of the impact plastic waste is having on our oceans,” Mr Forrest said.
“Minderoo is garnering support across the globe for the Sea The Future initiative. Voyages such as Jon’s help us highlight the extent of the problem and conduct important scientific research.
“The best available predictions suggest that with increasing mismanagement of plastics there will be one tonne of ocean plastic for every three tonnes of fish by 2025, the equivalent of 600 plastic bags for every 10kg fish.”
Ocean water samples collected by Mr Sanders will be analysed by Professor Kliti Grice at Curtin University’s Department of Organic and Isotope Geochemistry Centre.
“We plan to retrieve an accurate measure for the rate at which plastic is breaking down and polluting our southern oceans,” Professor Grice said.
¹ Underwriting by Minderoo Foundation will be subject to written agreement incorporating appropriate terms and conditions.