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Sailors can truly change the world

by Zeke Quezada, American Sailing Association 8 Nov 2018 15:39 UTC
Plastic Pollution Purge © American Sailing Association

In an impassioned meeting at the offices of the American Sailing Association, far from the concerns of sail trim or tacking angles, ASA Founder Lenny Shabes was speaking to a group of fellow educators and ASA board members. They were discussing pollution in the world's oceans and waterways, specifically that of plastic, which makes up 80% of the debris in the ocean.

"We're all sailors here and over a million sailors have worked through our system on some level," said Shabes. "That's a lot of people who look to us or touch base when it comes to all things sailing. With that in mind, we should impart the responsibility we all need to carry when we're out on the water."

"It's so easy to help, just do a few things differently when you're on the boat," says Cindy Shabes, president of the ASA. "Little things like not packing plastic straws, using reusable water bottles and scooping plastic debris out of the water when you see it. It sounds like nothing but if we all start developing these kinds of habits, it not only makes a difference but sets an example and establishes a mindset that can go beyond the time we spend on our boats."

According to one million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans. But what's even more relevant, when it comes to plastic in the oceans, is not the image we've all seen of a dead seabird filled with little bits of plastic debris where food should be.

As horrible and jarring as that is, what's more germane is what's happening to the one-cell universe that exists at the foundation of the ocean lifecycle. As it turns out, plastic never breaks down completely and once it reaches the size where phytoplankton mistakes the microscopic particles as food, systemic problems from that ripple throughout the entire food chain.

Read the full article here.

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