Ronstan

We Are Our Worst Enemy

Published on June 28th, 2016

Everywhere we turn, we learn of a new example how human innovation has negatively impacted our environment. A new study has been launched to investigate microfiber pollution in the Hudson River… the same fibers coming from our clothes:

Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean, an environmental non-profit working on the issue of marine debris, has teamed up with 11th Hour Racing for the Hudson River Expedition, a first of its kind research and education mission to better understand synthetic microfiber pollution.

11th Hour Racing is a program of the Schmidt Family Foundation aimed at increasing awareness to issues facing our oceans and waterways, and engaging the marine communities in developing sustainable solutions.

During the Hudson River expedition, aboard American Promise, the record-breaking circumnavigator turned greenest sailing research vessel in the world, Rozalia Project’s scientists and crew are collecting samples for a world first study to produce a concentration map of synthetic microfiber pollution in the entire Hudson River – from mountains to sea. They will use the information to refine and improve their innovative new device – the microfiber catcher – a world-first and easy to use consumer solution to mitigate this type of pollution.

Patagonia just released a study revealing that just one synthetic jacket can shed an average of 81,317 fibers, escape washing machines and flow into public waterways. Further studies have shown that these tiny plastic fibers are being eaten by sea creatures of all sizes, and can transfer toxins into the tissue of these organisms leading to reproductive and other physiological issues. Many of those fish and shellfish end up on our plates. According to one study, 1 in 3 shellfish and 1 in 4 finfish sold from a fish market in California contained microplastics – mostly microfibers. This means that we are potentially eating our own fleeces, our own ski gear and our own, and other’s, yoga clothes!

Rachael Miller, Rozalia Project’s Co-Founder and Executive Director says, “11th Hour Racing’s support for the Hudson River Expedition makes a huge difference to our ability to bring both the problem and a solution around synthetic microfiber to people along the Hudson River and beyond. 11th Hour Racing helped us make American Promise the greenest sailing research vessel in the world; we are thrilled that they are partnering with us to support this expedition that helps us refine our innovative solution to the biggest plastic pollution problem currently facing our oceans.”

“Rozalia Project’s Hudson River Expedition is at the forefront of a major environmental issue, both in conducting research to better understand the problem, but also in developing a solution. Raising awareness of ocean and coastal pollution, while at the same time supporting new technology to reduce pollutants is central to what we do at 11th Hour Racing, and we are proud to partner with Rozalia on this cutting edge project” says Rob MacMillan, 11th Hour Racing Co-Founder.

The Hudson River Expedition is happening through July 9th with results and reports to follow. The microfiber catcher is scheduled to be ready for market in the spring of 2017.

For a selection of photos from the Hudson River Expedition please go to: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BxqEakSOg8S1RkhjWFFmRFFkdHc

For more information, please refer to the following published research:
• Rochman, C et al (2015) Scientific Reports 5: Article # 14340
• Van Cauwenberghe L, Janssen CR (2014) Environ Poll 193:65-70
• Mathalon, A Hill P (2014) Mar Poll Bull 81(1): 69-79

About Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean

Rozalia Project is a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to clean and protect the ocean and conserve a thriving marine ecosystem. They address the problem of marine debris through restoration, prevention through education, technology and solutions based research. They are the inventors of the first human-scale solution to synthetic microfiber pollution. Rozalia Project is based in New England and operates, American Promise, the greenest sailing research vessel in the world. For more information, go to www.RozaliaProject.org.

About 11th Hour Racing

11th Hour Racing is a program of the Schmidt Family Foundation based in Newport, Rhode Island with three programs: sponsorships, grants, and ambassadors. Through the platform of sailing, 11th Hour Racing aims to increase our understanding of the oceans, find solutions to the challenges that impact marine resources, and promote stewardship of the seas that sustain life on our planet. For more information about 11th Hour Racing, visit www.11thhourracing.org.

Source: 11th Hour Racing; June 28, 2016

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