The Volvo Ocean Race isn’t just a world-class sailing race, it’s also an opportunity for innovation, exploration and scientific discovery.

This year the race has launched a Sustainability Programme, focussing on ocean plastic pollution. The programme aims to create awareness, activate discussion, highlight local relevancy and put out a call to action to businesses, governments and individuals to play their part in making a positive impact on ocean health.

Our partner boat, Turn the Tide on Plastic has already got off to a start! In Leg 1 the team began collecting data on micro-plastics. The data being collected by the race teams will contribute to a better understanding of our threatened oceans.

Micro-plastics are plastic fragments that are less than five millimetres in length. It is believed that we only actually see 1% of plastic in the ocean and the rest is made up of these tiny pieces of debris!

So how do they collect this data? Turn the Tide on Plastic is carrying equipment on board to test salinity, dissolved CO2, temperature and algae directly in the sea around them in addition to test trials for micro-plastics.

A clever piece of equipment called an MP analyser does three things:

  • collects samples of water
  • detects the plastics
  • measures the size

All this data will be logged in order to create a complete snapshot of the world’s oceans.

Visit the Volvo Ocean Race website here for more information on the Science Programme.

For more information from Turn the Tide on Plastic, visit our Volvo Ocean Race page!