A unique five-year journey to teach children in far-flung destinations of the danger of plastic pollution has reached a milestone.
A total of 1,500 youngsters and students have learnt through interactive presentations on how to tackle the plastic menace.
The lectures have all taken place on a vessel called the Race for Water, which is propelled by solar energy, wind and hydrogen.
The 35m Race for Water is equipped with 500 sqm of solar panels, a plant to produce energy from saltwater hydrogen, and a sail to harness the wind.
The boat set off in 2017 on a 60-month expedition around the globe to highlight the need to curb plastic pollution – which, if left unchecked, could weigh more in the seas in 2050 than the fish that live in them.
The boat is led by the Swiss Race for Water Foundation and backed by the UN Environment.
It landed in Panama this week to the delight of children who learnt more about how to protect the environment.
The 35m Race for Water is equipped with 500 sqm of solar panels, a plant to produce energy from saltwater hydrogen, and a sail to harness the wind
The visit is part of a series of stops across Latin America and the Caribbean which will also encompass Bermuda, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Guadeloupe.
The boat’s crew is also carrying out research projects to measure the impact of marine litter on wildlife and biological cycles.
The expedition aims to inspire the global community from students to governments to use the latest technologies to reduce plastic consumption.
Expedition leader Franck David commented:
“We are thrilled to be in Panama and to have the opportunity to share with audiences the fragility of marine ecosystems and the solutions we need to tackle plastic pollution.”
UN Environment regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Leo Heileman, paid a visit to the Race for Water, and praised the initiative.
“This innovative vessel demonstrates that through technology and innovation we can already achieve efficient solutions to plastic pollution, one of the most serious problems of our time.”
The Race for Water will stop in Peru and Chile before heading to the Pacific islands, Shanghai, Tokyo and Dubai, and then conclude the expedition in the Mediterranean and France in 2021.