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26.10.2015

The Race For Water Foundation

The Race For Water Foundation is a charity dedicated to water preservation. This vital resource is in serious danger and it has to be protected.

The Foundation aims to bring together the public, institutions and decision-makers to address two crucial themes - plastic pollution in the oceans and the preservation of fresh water.

Water will be one of the 21st century's defining global challenges. However, the causes and consequences of the humanitarian issues tied to lack of water and the disruption of ocean ecosystems are less well understood than those relating to other aspects of sustainable development. This can be seen in public opinion, and in economic and political engagement.

Preserving The Oceans - What is a Gyre?

Gyres are enormous whirlpools or water vortexes that are created by wind and marine currents, at the heart of which plastic waste that has been floating in the oceans accumulate, creating gigantic zones of diffuse pollution.

Contrary to certain common beliefs, gyres are not areas of compactly accumulated macro-debris, but diffuse pollution zones with stronger concentrations of plastic microparticles than are present in open water.

It is estimated that 80% of plastic waste in the ocean results from human activity on land, while 20% comes from human activity at sea including marine traffic, fishing, aquaculture and oil rigs.

The Race For Water - Update on The Odyssey

The MOD70 Race For Water trimaran capsized on 12th September 90 miles South East from the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean.

The trimaran was sailing around the world as part of the environmental expedition Race for Water Odyssey, a project to make a first global assessment of plastic pollution in the oceans, by visiting islands located in the centre of trash concentration zones.

The Odyssey had completed 11 stopovers and collected a considerable amount of data in the North Atlantic, South Pacific and North Pacific trash accumulation zones.

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The team have already crossed the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The experienced crew onboard composed of Stève Ravussin, Claude Thélier, Martin Gavériaux, Olivier Rouvillois and Marco Simeoni, expedition leader.

Stève Ravussin, skipper of the expedition, explains about the difficult sailing conditions they were experiencing in the area, ‘The conditions had been really difficult for a few days, as often is the case in the Indian Ocean. Big swell, high waves, and the fact that the crew were tired after the 32,000 miles that we have already travelled were some of the factors that triggered the unfortunate accident.’

Thanks to the assistance of the military base in Diego Garcia, the crew was rescued by the Pacific Marlin, a ship from the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). The trimaran was towed capsized then righted in the military harbour.

After having spent a few weeks in Malé, the MOD70 Race for Water trimaran was sent back home this week on the ‘Langeoog’ cargo vessel, that is sailing back to Europe. After a long navigation in the Indian Ocean, with a passage in the Gulf of Aden and through the Suez Canal, she will reach Lorient, France by the end of November.

See VIDEO - Capsize Of The MOD70 Trimaran - Race For Water > 

The Race for Water Odyssey continues

Despite the accident, the project is not called into question, as Marco Simeoni, President of the Race for Water Foundation and expedition leader, explains, “This accident is shocking and disappointing for all of us. However, it is crucial to continue the fight against this environmental and global disaster. The Odyssey is not called into question and its goals – on the one hand to raise awareness of plastic pollution in the oceans among the general public and on the other hand to get an understanding of the issue thanks to various scientific and sociological analyses - remain. We may have lost our boat ambassador but our determination and motivation are stronger than ever.’

Remaining stopovers of the expedition are to be maintained. The onshore team will continue to sample beaches as well as organize activities to raise awareness of the problem thanks to school presentations, meetings with scientists, exhibitions and other events to alert local populations on the urgency to act to preserve our oceans.  

The Race For Water Foundation has developed a program based around four pillars of Awareness, Business, Education and Science.

AWARENESS: Raise understanding among the general public and key opinion leaders about the urgency of water preservation through the ‘Water Guardian’ program, exhibitions and the MOD70 ambassador boat.

BUSINESS: Engage businesses and scientists, develop the understanding of the impacts and propose tools for action in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

EDUCATION: Inspire the next generation to act to preserve our water resources and engage them to make a difference. The aim is to include the program in the school curriculum.

SCIENCE: Develop a better knowledge base and understanding of the impacts of plastics on the maritime environment, measure the rate of waste dispersal and create a research centre on plastic pollution in collaboration with governmental institutions.

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