Emily Penn is visiting ocean plastics sites via boat to study them. Her organization eXXpedition leads women around the world in sailboats to study and raise awareness for plastics in the ocean.

Penn first found the problem when she jumped off a boat 800 miles from land and found herself surrounded by plastics. She then visited the ocean gyres which is full of plastic pollution.

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As she continued to study plastics, she found that many were endocrine disruptors that were harming female hormone systems. As we ingest microplastics, they get into our bodies. She decided to gather women to study plastics since they were being affected by ingesting plastics without their knowledge.

The first all female voyage was in 2014. Fourteen women from all different countries experienced the plastic pollution first hand. With the success of other eXXpedition trips, Penn is now on her most ambitious journey yet. She will sail for 730 days around the world, with 30 legs of the trip. These 30 legs will host 300 female crew members. All with goals for studying and reducing plastics.

The mission’s lead scientist, Dr. Winnie Courtene Jones, will lead the group in mapping how plastic follows currents. The group will study plastic at a deep and surface level to gather data. “Going around the world provides a really unique opportunity to get such a huge global data set. From that [data] we will be to work out where sources are and also provide the evidence of how much there is to develop evidence based and effective solutions to combat this,” says Dr. Courtene-Jones.

The “Round the World” adventure will cover 38,000 nautical miles and will last until 2021. You can track the boat here.

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Plastic pollution continues to overwhelm our oceans and lands. Read more plastic coverage in One Green Planet.  Research published found that trillions of plastic particles are entering San Francisco Bay. Read about female scientists working on the plastic problem.

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