Plastic by the Numbers in the Atlantic Ocean

In late 2014, Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation partnered with the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, a fleet of sailboats that makes an annual crossing of the Atlantic. In total, 93 of the 251 boats gathered water samples for our Global Microplastics Initiative, contributing 521 samples to ASC’s dataset and covering an estimated 602,000-square-nautical-mile area.

 

The following graphic helps tell the story.

The sources of microplastics pollution include microbeads manufactured for many face washes and toothpastes, particles weathered from larger debris like bottles and bags, and microfibers shed down the drain when synthetic clothing is washed.

In addition to the ARC sailors, volunteer sea kayakers, surfers, rowers divers and hikers have collected samples from places including Scandinavia, the Antarctic Peninsula, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island, and West Africa. They have contributed more than 1,200 samples to the ASC dataset, which is likely the largest of its kind.

Once we have enough data, we plan to use this information to leverage change, working with legislative, corporate and public partners to stop the influx of microplastics.

Learn more about ASC on our website, the Field Notes blog, and by following us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Google+

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Gregg Treinish founded Adventure Scientists in 2011 with a strong passion for both scientific discovery and exploration. National Geographic named Gregg Adventurer of the Year in 2008 when he and a friend completed a 7,800-mile trek along the spine of the Andes Mountain Range. He was included on the Christian Science Monitor's 30 under 30 list in 2012, and the following year became a National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his work with Adventure Scientists. In 2013, he was named a Backpacker Magazine "hero", in 2015, a Draper Richards Kaplan Entrepreneur and one of Men's Journal's "50 Most Adventurous Men." In 2017, he was named an Ashoka Fellow. Gregg holds a biology degree from Montana State University and a sociology degree from CU-Boulder. He thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2004. Read more updates from Gregg and others on the Adventure Scientists team at adventurescientists.org/field-notes. Follow Adventure Scientists on Instagram @adventurescientists, on Facebook @adventurescientists, and on Twitter @AdvScientists.