Explorer to trace flow of plastics down 10 rivers into seas

MILAN — Italian explorer Alex Bellini plans to travel down the world's 10 most polluted rivers on makeshift rafts, tracing the routes of plastics that pollute the world's oceans.

Bellini said Thursday that he was inspired by a 2018 study by a German scientist that found 80% of plastic in the world's oceans arrives from just 10 rivers.

He began with a voyage down the Ganges River in India on a raft built from garbage last month and intends to complete journeys on all 10 on similarly constructed rafts by 2021, including the Yangtze, the Niger and the Mekong. His final stop will be the Great Pacific Ocean garbage patch.

The 40-year-old spoke to The Associated Press on the sidelines of a One Oceans forum.

Bellini, who has rowed solo across two oceans for more than 35,000 kilometers (nearly 22,000 miles), said he became aware of pollution in the ocean while rowing from Peru to Australia in 2008. But he said he was surprised to learn that most plastics in the seas arrive by rivers and not from coastal areas.

His new journeys are aimed at raising awareness about the source of ocean plastic, which according to the U.N. environment assembly is accumulating in oceans at a rate of 8 million tons a year.

The damage to wildlife of ocean plastic was made clear with the death last month of a whale that beached on the northern coast of Sardinia in Italy with 22 kilograms (48.5 pounds) of plastic in its belly.

"The ocean is a no-man's land, meaning what is found in the ocean belongs to no one, therefore it is no one's responsibility to go take away that stuff," Bellini said. "But research brings the problem closer to us, in the rivers. So everyone needs to take his own responsibility."

Bellini is supported by the One Ocean Foundation, founded by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Sardinia, with a mission to safeguard the seas.

Closer to home, the foundation has issued a call to clean plastics and other trash that a recent drought has revealed in the Po River, Italy's longest, which empties into the Adriatic Sea.

Must Read

Bruised but still standing: Merkel survives...

Jul 3, 2018

US-GERMANY-POLITICS-MERKEL-ANALYSIS:Bruised but still standing: Merkel survives coalition migrant...

Niki Lauda released from hospital after lung...

Oct 24, 2018

Three-time Formula One champion Niki Lauda has been released from a Vienna hospital nearly three...

Hamilton looks for luck to change amid 3-way...

Apr 26, 2018

Lewis Hamilton needs his luck to change in Azerbaijan

Vettel has pole for Azerbaijan GP, Hamilton 2nd

Apr 28, 2018

Sebastian Vettel has pole position for the third straight time this season at the Azerbaijan Grand...

Belgians, Dutch join in opposing Trump's...

Jan 25, 2017

Belgium is joining the Netherlands in backing the creation of an international fund to finance...

Sign up now!

The Healthier Web delivers accurate and up-to-date health information through medical content and insights from experts. Feel the ‘ohm’ here in The Healthier Web.

Contact us: sales[at]thehealthierweb.com