Contributing to the advancement of scientific knowledge
Through the programme LEARN we contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge on plastic pollution in water. Thoroughly active in tackling plastic pollution in the oceans, Race for Water Foundation with the Odyssey 2017-2021 pursues its commitment against this environmental scourge, which consequences remain broadly unknown.
In 2015, the first Odyssey has established an overview of plastic pollution in the oceans and initiate scientific results, which results was published in a scientific report "Quantitative and Qualitative Assessment of Marine Plastics Debris Collected on Shorelines". Research themes are based on solid waste and micro plastics collected on beaches situated at the heart of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans’ gyres. The LEARN program details in few points :
A S C I E N T I F I C R E P O R T
With its first Odyssey in 2015, the Race for Water Foundation shows that majority of marine plastics debris was little pieces of plastics. Called "microplastics" by scientifics, they pollute the marine environment by absorbing polluants and contaminating the entire food chain. Currently, a team of researchers from the Bordeaux University (France) is working on data in order to understand the ecotoxicological effects of microplastics on fish cells and embryos. By the end of the year, a publication, based on the collection made by Race for Water, will come out in a well-known scientific revue.
N E W S S T U D I E S
For its new Odyssey 2017-2021, out Foundation will emphasize the understanding of plastic pollution with a research focus on :
- The measure of plastic pollution
- The impact of plastic wastes on ecosystems
- The deterioration and toxicity of plastic
- Eco-toxicological effects of micro plastic on food chain and human health
From June 2017, research teams from the European program, JPI Oceans, will take part in the Odyssey and will use the Race for Water vessel to carry out their studies. Established in 2011, JPI Oceans is a strategic program coordinating marine research among European member states and associated countries. Among the joint initiatives launched by JPI Oceans, the “Ecological Aspects of Micro plastics” program brings together four projects covering the plastic debris, including EPHEMARE and WEATHER-MIC.
Lead by Prof. Ricardo Beiras (University of Vigo, Spain), the EPHEMARE project studies the ecotoxicological effects of micro plastics on marine ecosystems (pelagic and benthic). The scientists was on board during the Bermudas stopover to sample representative micro-plastics of the North-Atlantic gyre. They will come again in the Carribean for other sampling.
The WEATHER-MIC project, led by Dr. Annika Jahnke (UFZ Leipzig, Germany) and Dr. Hans Peter Arp (NGI Norway), aims to study the degradation of micro plastics in the marine environment.
Dr. Hans Peter Arp and two other scientists will come onboard Race for Water to sample microplastics in Cuba (submerged sediments, water, plankton) in collaboration with 6 Cuban scientists from CEAC (Cuba)
T H E W A T E R G U A R D I A N
E X P E R T S P L A T F O R M
Following its first Odyssey, Race for Water also initiated a knowledge sharing platform at an international scale. It is now composed of a community of committed Water Guardian Experts met mainly during the expedition : scientists, NGOs, local associations, institutions, governments, managers, industrials can connect, get informed, involved and share expertise in order to stop the environmental scourge of plastic pollution in the oceans.
S C I E N T I F I C S P A R T N E R S F O R T H E 2 0 1 5 O D Y S S E Y
- Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale of Lausanne at the Central Environmental Laboratory (GR-CEL), Lausanne, Switzerland - Plastic debris identification and concentration (public report available)
- University of Bordeaux at the UMR CNRS 5805 EPOC Laboratory, Bordeaux, France: Microplastics toxicity on fish cell lines and larvae of fish (publish results expected for end-2017)
- University of Applied Science Western Switzerland at the Laboratory of the Haute Ecole d’Ingénieurie, Fribourg, Switzerland : Analysis of micropolluants adsorbed on microplastics (results expected for end-2017)