Plastic litter is an ever-increasing global problem and one of the key environmental challenges of today. In 2018, over 345 million tons of plastic were produced worldwide and reach all corners of the earth. Up to 10 million tons of plastic end up annually in our oceans, with plastic being found not only on the water surface, but also in the deepest regions of the sea and the Arctic. Plastic does not degrade naturally in the environment; it simply breaks apart into smaller plastic particles, called microplastics (< 5 mm). These small plastic particles can be ingested by a variety of organisms, from tiny zooplankton to birds and cetaceans, leading to adverse effects such as inflammatory responses, entanglement and ultimately death due to ingestion. In addition, microplastics have already been found in our food, including several seafood species, such as fish, shrimp, and bivalves, but also in other foods, such as honey, beer, salt, sugar and even tap or bottled waters, as well as drinking water from groundwater sources.
The exact amount of microplastics in our waters as well as their long-term impact on the environment is still unknown. Researchers are calling out urgently for more data to properly evaluate the abundance of microplastics globally, and to get a proper overview about the extent of the plastic pollution problem. We take action by combining sailing, science and education in order to collect data, find solutions and strengthen awareness concerning environmental plastic pollution.
DR. ROMAN LEHNER
Scientific Project Leader & Co-founder
Roman researches on the topic of micro- and nanoplastics and their possible impacts on human health at the Adolphe Merkle Institute in Fribourg. He also spent several years as a scientific guide on marine biological excursions and sailing trips.
DR. ORNELLA CELINE WEIDELI
Scientific Expedition Leader
For the last ten years, Ornella has investigated sharks from nearshore areas in Seychelles, French Polynesia and the Bahamas. To reach a wide audience, Ornella shares her knowledge though public presentations, engagements and as a scientific leader on sailing expeditions.
Skipper & Co-founder
Philipp has been sailing for over 30 years and has many thousand nautical miles under his belt, most of them as skipper in the North Atlantic, Mediterranean or in the Baltic Sea. As a RYA instructor, he regularly teaches theory and practice courses.
Sandro has seen over 50 Countries around the world, the most of them with a Sailing Yacht. He shares his passion for the Ocean as Sailing Teacher or as Freediving Instructor.
Maddison is currently completing her PhD on the impacts of microplastics and chemical contaminants on aquatic ecosystems and food webs. She has been working in the marine space for the past 10 years as a tour guide, environmental educator and now qualified marine scientist.
Khay is a researcher and lecturer in chemistry at the University of Newcastle. Her research manipulates nanomaterials for biomedical applications. Through innovative teaching, she hopes that changing habits through education will help to conserve the environment for future generations.
Julia is a Swiss-trained lawyer and a sailor with 20 years’ sailing experience, mostly in and around England and the North Sea.