Finish Line for the Race for Water Odyssey

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After a nine-month journey, the expedition returned to Bordeaux, France, yesterday, concluding an unprecedented human and scientific adventure that began on 15 March and which took the team to 17 locations across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. At each stopover, the R4WO team studied levels of plastic pollution in the water and raised awareness of the global issue. Our findings are dramatic: plastic pollution is everywhere.

After more than 32,000 nautical miles across three oceans and a painful ordeal when the project’s flagship trimaran capsized, the environmental expedition concluded its journey today with its return to its home port. On arrival in Bordeaux, the team will assess nine-month worth of data collected and the personalities and general public that the project reached with its awareness raising programme and its call to action. Race for Water Odyssey used a standard protocol based on that of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to sample the plastic pollution on 30 beaches located in five major waste accumulation zones. The project’s various partner institutions, including the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland), the University of Bordeaux (France) and the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) are currently analysing the collected samples. Duke University and Oregon State in the USA are studying images taken by the senseFly drone, eBee. Results are expected in 2016.