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UNEP Report Inspires Plastiki Expedition

San Francisco, 9 March 2010 - A UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report has inspired an out-of-the-box creation, The Plastiki - a 60-foot catamaran made from 12,500 reclaimed bottles and fully recycled plastic which will set sail at the end of March to raise awareness about plastic waste.

The Plastiki concept was birthed nearly three years ago following the UNEP report 'Ecosystems and Biodiversity in Deep Waters and High Seas'. The report highlights the way fisheries, pollution and other stresses such as those arising from global climate change are impacting and affecting the marine world.

Led by David de Rothschild, UNEP Climate Hero and British adventurer and environmentalist, the Plastiki is set to sail from San Francisco to Sydney, Australia. Plastiki's mission is to beat waste by drawing attention to the large amounts of plastic debris in the world's oceans and to help re-think how waste can serve as a resource leading to real world solutions.

The Plastiki press conference, held on 26 February at the Cavallo Point Lodge just footsteps from the San Francisco Bay, brought together more than 200 people, including Mayor Gavin Newsom, Elisabeth Guilbaud-Cox of UNEP's Regional Office for North America, and 71 members of the media.

The press conference marked an opportunity to speak with De Rothschild and his crew: skipper Jo Royle, co-skipper David Thomson and Josian and Olav Heyerdahl - grandchildren of Norwegian explorer Thor Hyerdahl of Kon-Tiki.

"We hope that this expedition will not only bring light to the marine litter problem, but also inspire innovative solutions," said Guilbaud-Cox.

De Rothschild and his team will navigate more than 11,000 nautical miles (20, 370 kilometres) from San Francisco to Australia's world famous Sydney Harbour.

The team will sail through a number of environmental hotspots such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch - the world's largest landfill located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

According to a more recent UNEP report launched in 2009, plastic is the most dangerous type of marine litter, accounting for more than 80 per cent of all rubbish collected in a number of regional seas.

The Plastiki was engineered by a number of experts in the field of sustainable design, boat building, architecture, materials and innovative design technology. For more information, visit www.theplastiki.com.

Pictured in front of The Plastiki from L to R; San Fancisco Mayor Gavin Newsom; the brain behind The Plastiki David de Rothschild, and UNEP's Elisabeth Guilbaud-Cox



Further Resources

The Plastiki Expedition

Action Urged to Avoid Deep Trouble in the Deep Seas

Ecosystems and Biodiversity in Deep Waters and High Seas

UNEP: Regional Office for North America (RONA)

Report Brings to the Surface the Growing Global Problem of Marine Litter

Marine Litter: A Global Challenge

UNEP's Climate Heroes - Adventure and Activism for the Environment


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