ENVIRONMENTAL organisation World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) South Africa will tackle marine plastic pollution during the Cape2Rio 2020 yacht race next month.
WWF SA and racing trimaran Love Water are joining forces to raise awareness about plastic pollution in oceans.
The 80-foot French trimaran, skippered by Craig Sutherland, arrived in Cape Town earlier this month after a 14000km delivery voyage from Portimao, Portugal, via Brazil.
The craft will be berthed at the V&A Waterfront until January 11, while making final preparations for the trans-Atlantic crossing from Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro.
The Love Water team has set itself two goals - to break the Cape2Rio record of 11 days set by rival vessel Maserati, and to promote environmental awareness around the impact of plastic pollution on marine life while doing so.
According to non-profit-organisation Plastic Oceans, about 500 billion plastic bags are used globally each year, with more than one million bags used each minute.
It takes 500 years to break down plastic, says WWF South Africa.
The organisation’s website warns that plastic pollution kills wildlife, damages natural ecosystems and contributes to climate change.
According to the organisation, there may be more plastic, by weight, than fish in the ocean by 2050.
Love Water is a South African team who have settled on the lucky number eight. With eight crew members on board, and their sights set on a record-breaking eight-day race, they plan to share eight stories about plastic pollution during their voyage.
“The thing about making it in eight days is that the speed and the ability of this boat is unprecedented,” said Pavitray Pillay, environmental behaviour change manager with WWF South Africa.
The team will be photographing the plastic, as well as using a drone to capture their findings.
Pillay told Weekend Argus that an estimated eight million tons of plastic is dumped in the ocean a year.
“That is one dump truck per minute. The problem with this is 80% is land-based pollution.”
“Plastic is everyone’s problem and we all need to start acting.
“We need a million people to recycle their plastic and reduce plastic consumption,” she said.