eXXpedition is an all female voyage to uncover three unseens: plastics in our seas, toxins in our bodies and women in science and tech.
Last year, eXXpedition founders Emily Penn and Lucy Gilliam, hand-picked an international crew aged from 24 to 67 who came with a diversity of skills to race across the Atlantic on a 72 foot Challenger Sailing vessel aptly called Sea Dragon.
Sailing for 19 days, the team sampled the ocean for plastics and pollutants, feeding these results into wider global studies examining the impacts of toxics and plastic pollutants on personal and environmental health.
They were shocked to find plastic fragments in every single trawl, even where the water looked pristine. These plastics can find their way into the food chain as animals can mistake them for plankton. Plastic fragments can also act as sponges for toxic pollution and this can lead to transfer of toxics through the gut which can then bioacculmulate through the food chain. Almost half of all marine mammals have been shown to have plastic contamination in their guts! A recent study in journal Science, authored by eXXpedition crew member Jenna Jambeck, estimates that by 2025 there will be one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish in the sea.
Studies have also shown that humans are contaminated with over 700 foreign synthetic chemicals, so the team also underwent ‘Body Burden’ analysis, a UN Environmental Program initiative to assess personal exposure to known toxic substances, to shed light on the science of ecotoxicology and its relationship with disease rates.
One of the aims of eXXpedition is to show that that we live in a shared environment, and our collective actions impact us all whether we are rich or poor, from north or south, east or west. Industrial pollution and plastic waste travels. It enters the food chain. It is impacting biodiversity, ecosystem health and our own health. We are being exposed to things we don’t choose. It’s happening to everybody and we have to take collective action.
eXXpedition are recruiting crew for the next voyages apply here