Tiffany Paige, an actress, public relations professional and blogger from Los Angeles, will join in on the expedition. *Photo supplied
Tiffany Paige, an actress, public relations professional and blogger from Los Angeles, will join in on the expedition. *Photo supplied
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The crew of a 72-foot sailboat currently docked in St. George’s will embark on a 21-day expedition tomorrow, where they will study plastic pollution in the north Atlantic.

The crew of the Sea Dragon, comprised of volunteer environmentalists and researchers, will be tracking the amount of plastic pollution in the north Atlantic gyre, in an attempt to determine the effect of plastic pollution in the ocean. They, in turn, hope their work will trigger policy change.

A gyre refers to a naturally occurring vortex of wind and currents that rotate in a clockwise direction in the northern hemisphere, causing a whirlpool effect. At the vortex of the gyre, plastic debris collects.

According to 5 Gyres – the organization spearheading the trip – only 5 percent of the plastics that humans use is recovered. The rest are either buried in landfills, remade or lost in the environment, where it ultimately washes out to sea.

Marine animals eat the trash, which can lead to blockages, dehydration starvation and potentially death. The group is also concerned about the potential human health effects of toxic chemicals entering the marine food chain through plastics.

The crew of more than a dozen will be at sea for 21 days. The trip – called the Viking Gyre Expedition -- will end in Iceland. 

Some of the crew, like Tiffany Paige, an actress, public relations professional and blogger from Los Angeles, are sailing novices. Today, the crew practiced basic sailing exercises during the wind and rain.

 “I’m a little nervous, it’s close quarters, I’m sleeping in a bunk and my sailing experience up until now has just been day trips,” she said.

She added, “But I felt compelled; I needed to be a part of this.”